The healthcare industry is challenged by a severe shortage of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers globally. It is a hard reality that only half of the countries across the world have enough healthcare staff to provide quality care. Recent studies show that America will face a shortage of up to 122,000 physicians by 2032.
During the peak period of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was a daunting task to get a doctor’s appointment. The healthcare providers at all levels were overburdened with the huge inflow of Covid patients. Patients with various health conditions had to wait to get healthcare advice and take the right decisions. Thanks to the widespread adoption of smartphones, AI-powered smart devices, and virtual assistants! As the situation demanded, healthcare providers were forced to redefine their digital adoption strategies. Conversational AI was widely recognized as one of the leading technologies, along with telemedicine, that drove digital adoption. Chatbots and virtual agents were developed and deployed with a minimal turnaround time to help relieve pressure on overworked healthcare workers.
Role of Conversational AI in Healthcare
Conversational AI in Healthcare – Use Cases
- Support healthcare provider’s staff in identifying the right department and the right physician in the hospital, based on the patient health symptoms
- Help manage emergencies and provide correct directions to troubled patients
- Enable automated offline conversations like SMS and emails in terms of following up with patients on their medication/treatment
- Facilitate easy scheduling of appointments for patients with their chosen physicians
- Allow provider’s staff to conduct surveys and help understand patient sentiments by integrating with other AI solutions
- Empower providers to connect with patients that speak different languages and keep them engaged.
- Improve post-treatment/care communications with patients
- Integrate easily with AI solutions to predict the probability of patient no shows and thereby arrest revenue loss
- Make delicate conversations on payments with patients easy
- Work as a research assistant for physicians, helping them with the right reading material to help them diagnose a problem
- Ensure better management of physician’s calendar
Five Prerequisites for Implementing Conversational AI in Healthcare
1. Business Discovery
2. Patient-centric Data Platform
3. Data-driven Culture
5. Patient Confidentiality
Conversational AI platform is a quintessential tool for driving patient conversation and engagement It helps the provider’s staff in delivering quality healthcare services to patients, even in high volumes, with human-like empathetic conversations. Conversational AI solutions should never be thought of as a replacement for the healthcare staff. Healthcare cannot afford to become robotic, human touch is still vital and cannot be replaced. However, by rerouting all basic services to conversational AI solutions, provider staff can now have more time and energy to provide quality services to patients where their involvement is truly required. Moreover, the patient community today is aware of the influx of AI in many areas of healthcare. As long as they are receiving quality services, patients are ready to adopt and accept these technology changes. Hence, it would be prudent for healthcare providers to start adopting Conversational AI to improve patient conversations and engagement.
Anand Subramaniam is the Chief Solutions Officer, leading Data Analytics & AI service line at KANINI. He is passionate about data science and has championed data analytics practice across start-ups to enterprises in various verticals. As a thought leader, start-up mentor, and data architect, Anand brings over two decades of techno-functional leadership in envisaging, planning, and building high-performance, state-of-the-art technology teams.