Medical Chatbots - image

Medical Chatbots

People want instant answers, anytime and anywhere. Keeping all necessary information handy is what chatbots can help with.

The use of chatbot technology in healthcare is changing the medical industry for the better. These virtual assistants can provide real-time personalized advice to people with chronic conditions and offer support to those with severe symptoms or mental health issues. Chatbots also help patients manage their daily medication regimens via text messages.

Let’s do an open heart surgery on how the healthcare industry needs this technological solution.

What Are Medical Chatbots?

Healthcare (or medical) chatbots are computer programs that can mimic human conversation. They are designed to help patients manage their health and communicate with their providers.

Technically, there are three types of medical chatbots:

  1. rules-based, that use pre-defined scenarios of questions and answers: they are ideal for simple tasks like answering FAQs or collecting basic information;

  2. AI-powered: this is an intelligent conversational agent analyzing requests and providing answers based on previous experience with similar questions (this bot can be used for complex tasks like patient diagnostics and triage, in addition to mental issues);

  3. hybrid: if the chatbot (either AI or non-AI) is unable to answer a question, hybrid bots will connect a patient with a human agent

How Do Medical AI Chatbots Benefit a Healthcare System?

Reduced Waiting Time

Most of us can probably remember a time or two trying to get an appointment with our doctor. The patient is on the phone for what seems like an eternity, the call is transferred between different departments and staff, and put on hold, before finally getting an appointment confirmation. Or maybe a person makes his first doctor’s appointment and the administrator appears to be taking too long to ask for personal information.

One way or another, we’ve all been there. And this is one of the biggest problems currently being solved by chatbots in the healthcare industry.

Today, a number of medical organizations are using chatbots in medical meetings and collecting patient information. With simple interfaces and precise statements, chatbots are capable of collecting basic information such as name, contact details, medical history, etc. Patients can also easily book an appointment through medical chatbots without resorting to hassles. Just a few clicks and voila!

Reduced Overhead Costs

The advantage of chatbots in the medical field is that they are available 24/7. Not to mention that they can easily handle L1 queries from patients. This has a huge impact when it comes to overhead.

Chatbots can effectively replace human involvement when handling simple redundant requests. 24/7 availability means that healthcare facilities no longer need to hire additional staff to handle requests at non-standard times. This reduces all additional costs for these organizations.

Advanced medical chatbots can accurately determine patient intent and guide patients on the next steps, and seamlessly communicate all relevant information to either an agent or physician, depending on which step is next.

The chatbot can collect patient phone numbers and allow patients to receive video consultations in cases where they can’t move to the nearest medical facility. Both doctors and patients can benefit greatly from this implementation.

Easily Share Important Medical Information & Recommendations

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of healthcare organizations have launched medical chatbots to ensure that the masses are properly informed about everything they need to know about the disease, its symptoms, when to visit a doctor, etc. This helped prevent misinformation as well as nationwide panic.

This is just one example where a medical chatbot can be used to help the general public. There are a number of medical chatbots that can provide information, diagnoses, and other information such as medications, dosages, and tests.

Top Use Cases of Medical Chatbots

Appointments Schedule Chatbots

Appointment management is one of the common operations associated with the healthcare industry. Despite scheduling systems, many patients find it difficult to navigate scheduling systems.

A well-designed medical chatbot can book appointments based on doctor availability. Additionally, chatbots can interface with CRM systems to help healthcare staff track visits and follow-up appointments for each individual patient, while keeping the information at hand for future connection.

The AI healthcare chatbot can also be used to collect and process co-payments to further simplify the process.

Instant Response Chatbots

One of the most typical aspects of any website is the FAQ section. A medical chatbot can serve as a one-stop solution for answering all common patient questions in seconds. Many healthcare providers are modifying their FAQs by adding an interactive healthcare chatbot to answer standard user questions. It helps people get immediate answers to such queries.

Effective Involvement Chatbots

Patients who are not engaged in their healthcare are more likely to have unmet medical needs and twice as likely to delay seeking care than more motivated patients. Perhaps for this reason, multi-channel pharma is now more popular than ever before.

A chatbot for healthcare providers effectively bridges communication and education gaps. Automating the connection with a chatbot builds patient trust by providing timely answers to questions and providing medical education. Here are three ways healthcare chatbots can improve your patient outreach:

  • Chatbots help healthcare providers connect with patients via online chat using text or speech synthesis instead of providing direct human contact. The patient gets the information they are looking for without one-on-one human interaction.

  • The chatbot is accessed by patients via SMS, email, QR codes, websites, etc. The flexibility to connect patients to their preferred communication channel increases the likelihood of engaging and benefiting from the interaction.

  • Patients have different problems, interests, and attention spans. Healthcare providers and patients benefit when the right information comes at the right time and in a form that is easy to understand.

Collecting Chatbots

One of the key healthcare chatbot use cases is to acquire patient data. Simple questions concerning the patient’s name, address, contact number, symptoms, current doctor, and insurance information can be used to extract information by deploying healthcare chatbots. The data can be saved further making patient admission, symptom tracking, doctor-patient contact, and medical record-keeping easier.

Recommendation Chatbots

One of the key aspects of the healthcare sector is boosting enrollment. For healthcare institutions when it comes to increasing enrollment for different types of programs and raising awareness, medical chatbots are the best option.

A well-built healthcare chatbot can understand user intent with the help of sentiment analysis. Based on the understanding of the user input, the bot can recommend appropriate healthcare plans.

Feedback Chatbots

Obtaining patient feedback is extremely important for improving healthcare services. Using a feedback chatbot helps you learn what your patients think about your hospital, doctors, treatments, and overall experience through a simple, automated conversation flow.

Chatbots & HIPAA Compliance

There are chatbots based on different media, including Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, and even SMS. But are these chatbots compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)? Or can they be easily made HIPAA compliant? The answer is no.

The main reason for most media is that these media in their core aren’t HIPAA compliant. For example, your Facebook messages may be read or stored there in an unencrypted format. A HIPAA-compliant chatbot requires extra work to secure protected health information (PHI) and related data.

To ensure that a medical chatbot is HIPAA compliant, it is important to take certain steps.

Firstly, implement a secure system for storing patient information; this should include encryption of all data stored on the system as well as access control measures to prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing sensitive information.

Secondly, use natural language processing techniques such as sentiment analysis and entity recognition to interpret user input in order to provide accurate responses without compromising any patient’s privacy or confidentiality.

Lastly, establish clear policies regarding how personal health information can be used by the chatbot and ensure appropriate levels of security are maintained when communicating with patients via text message or other electronic mediums.

By following these best practices, organizations can ensure their AI chatbots remain HIPAA compliant while providing valuable services for their customers.

How to Create a Medical Chatbot?

Now that you know where and why you should use a chatbot, you should also know how to build one. With BeKey, you can easily create a HIPAA-compliant chatbot for your healthcare service and customize your healthcare software to suit your needs.

Final Word

Medical AI chatbots are transforming the healthcare industry with a wide range of benefits. They help improve patient care, reduce costs and streamline processes. If you want to get started with chatbots in the medical field, please contact our team.


Mariia Maliuta
Mariia Maliuta (Copywriter) "Woman of the Word" in BeKey; technical translator/interpreter & writer

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