Coronavirus has caused an upheaval in Americans' everyday lives, and these drastic changes have especially been felt in the healthcare industry. Afraid of potentially infected waiting rooms and doctors' offices, many have turned to remote services such as tele-medicine. The pandemic has also given a boost to another recent healthcare technology innovation, the chatbot.
Chatbots are internet applications that use artificial intelligence to run automated commands on the WEB. Used primarily as communication tools, they function by way of text or audio messages. Some of these healthcare software programs use highly developed scripts that enable individuals to have intelligent, one-on-one conversations with a bot instead of a person.
In healthcare, chatbots can be used in lieu of speaking (at least initially) with a doctor or nurse. This is especially critical as medical professionals are stretched to their limit in handling the current crisis. Considering the impact that coronavirus has had on already stressed doctor-patient ratios, the chatbot is set to revolutionize the healthcare industry.
Finding out what condition or illness an individual has can be time-consuming. Patients sometimes call hospitals or medical clinics and are frustrated with the time it takes to speak with someone. This is true even for patients attempting to reach their own doctor, and it will likely be true for some time in the current climate. The chatbot can drastically reduce this time by using sophisticated healthcare software to answer initial concerns and help the patient determine whether (a) in-person examination is needed.
Chatbots can also help those in the healthcare industry to shift precious resources from phone screening and initial client intake to other necessary areas. With the crisis posed by the coronavirus, reallocating staff could help address these critical needs.
The role of chatbots may even extend further into healthcare sales. For example, pharmaceutical reps need to spend as much time as possible cultivating relationships with their customers, healthcare providers. Healthcare sales thrive on these personal contacts. Chatbots can automate tasks like setting up meetings and placing sample orders, allowing the rep to focus more energy on providers.
Like any service, healthcare depends upon its patients being satisfied. Americans have more healthcare options than ever, with even companies like Walmart getting into the game. Traditional providers therefore need a way to compete, and a way to provide quality care. Chatbots can help doctors, clinics, and hospitals keep their patients from going elsewhere for help. Once the coronavirus crisis abates, medical professionals will need these patients returning for their future healthcare needs. They need the edge that chatbots and other forms of healthcare technology provide.
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