Many decision-makers are reluctant to admit that conversational AI and its many applications are the solutions needed to drive the healthcare sector forward and help essential workers to overcome the challenges they are facing.
Despite the infamous reputation some sci-fi fans give to “AI” and “robots”, the technology has the potential to revolutionise the healthcare sector and take on many redundant tasks weighing down its frontliners.
Why Is Conversational AI Needed in the Healthcare Sector?
Many factors are holding back the healthcare sector from advancing:
The need for healthcare workers is increasing by the day, which may have become more noticeable to the public during the pandemic, but the virus outbreak merely highlighted the problem. The healthcare workforce shortage is an ongoing concern in many countries and has a domino effect on many other aspects of the health industry.
Stressed, burnt out, overwhelmed and exhausted. These are the words health workers use when asked how they are doing, but why? Remember, the domino effect. An increase in demand met with a shortage in staff results in an immense workload which spirals frontliners' stress levels and makes them vulnerable to many mental health issues such as depression and anxiety disorders.
Long Wait Times
Shortages, overscheduling and overwhelmed workers increase wait times and lower the quality of service patients get.
Not to mention that workers may lose some of their precious time doing routine tasks and answering repetitive questions that might’ve been, let’s say, automated.
How much relief would it be if a patient found the answer they’re looking for without visiting the healthcare facility or didn’t need the help of a nurse or a medical assistant to fill in forms and check for symptoms? Here is where conversational AI will come into play in the healthcare sector.
Conversational AI Use Cases in the Healthcare Sectors
To make things clear, conversational AI is not meant to replace doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals as some anti-technology individuals may think. Using virtual assistants and AI chatbots in healthcare is meant to empower essential workers to overcome hurdles and support them to do their jobs more efficiently. The two joining forces will amplify the results for the healthcare sector in terms of quality and costs.
Here is how conversational AI can be involved in healthcare:
Providing Information and Answering FAQs
Not all questions require the attention of a healthcare professional. Many patients want answers to common frequent questions, e.g. how to access my medical records, but it would take time for the medical staff member to answer. Self-service conversational AI interfaces can help with that.
But how does this differ from the traditional FAQ pages? Well, it is smarter! conversational AI uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU), which enables it to understand intent rather than looking for exact matches for patients' words.
Can I access my medical records? How to access my medical records? I want to check my medical records. These are inquiries with the same intent but different phrasing, which conversational AI will have no trouble understanding to give the desired answer to the patient.
Conversational AI can also help stop the spreading of false information and educate the public about health issues. By spreading awareness, conversational AI chatbots and virtual assistants can decrease the number of panic-related cases medical professionals have to deal with.
Symptoms Checking and Triaging
Conversational AI tools can be used to assess symptoms and assign levels of priority to patients' treatment. Conversational AI chatbots will ask patients about their symptoms in a logical sequence. The system will evaluate whether immediate intervention is required or whether the patient needs to book a medical consultation. In some cases, the AI chatbot can redirect patients to valuable resources that can help with their symptoms.
Using AI chatbots in healthcare will take the load of medical professionals and boost the efficiency of the triaging process, ensuring that emergency patients will receive instant care.
Can Conventional chatbots do the job? Conventional chatbots' predefined nature and inability to understand language variations will hinder the process. If patients use words that rule-based chatbots aren't programmed to recognise, they will not get the answer they are looking for.
During their recovery stage, patients will need to do regular checkups with their doctors and follow post-care plans. Some patients find it difficult to keep up with the instructions, which will impact their recovery. Conversational AI systems can help by issuing reminders about the actions that must be taken, e.g. medication reminders, and alert medical professionals if an issue arises.
Handling Administrative Tasks
Healthcare professionals' jobs have paperwork and administrative sides as well. If they're not carried out efficiently, they will waste a lot of time and effort they could've put into more critical tasks. Employing conversational AI in the healthcare sector will automate these tasks and grant real-time access to all the information medical professionals need to complete them.
The Benefits of Using Conversational AI in the Healthcare Sector
So, what are the highlights of using conversational AI in healthcare other than relieving the stress of healthcare providers:
Conversational AI chatbots are always there to help; no more waiting for someone to answer medical questions, reschedule an appointment, etc.
A Satisfying, Omnichannel Experience
Given they are intent-driven, conversational AI tools provide a personalised and satisfying customer experience which is essential in the healthcare sector. Conversational AI can also be used to offer support through different channels, including website interfaces, IVR systems and chatbots.
Conversational AI is not only successful in processing the variations of the same language but also has the ability to shift between different languages, which is beneficial for healthcare facilities located in multilingual countries.
We Transform Healthcare Facilities with a Seamless Conversational AI Solution
EDC provides a scalable, multilingual conversational AI platform that will help drive the healthcare sector further and set it up for a brighter future.
Request a demo today to learn more about our conversational AI solution.