A Guide to Building Healthcare Chatbots to scale your business [ 10 use cases inside]

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This blog post will delve into the fascinating world of healthcare chatbots. We will also understand the 2023 healthcare industry and the daily repetitive task in a healthcare clinic daily. Then we will explore how they transform the landscape of patient care in 10 different ways. From improving accessibility to enhancing education and streamlining administrative processes, these chatbots are proving to be a game-changer in the healthcare industry.

Join us as we unravel healthcare chatbots' benefits, applications, and future potential, highlighting their role in enhancing patient engagement, empowering individuals with knowledge, and, ultimately, revolutionizing how we approach healthcare.

What is healthcare for a chatbot?

Medical service providers claim that chatbots might help patients who are unclear about where to get medical assistance. Many individuals need to realize that there are situations when calling a doctor through telemedicine is more important than making an in-person appointment.

The average person needs medical training to grasp the gravity of their illness fully. Chatbots are helpful in situations like this. They ask patients for basic information, then provide further details on their problems and any recommended next steps based on their learning.

Different types of healthcare chatbots 

Prescriptive, conversational, and informative chatbots are the three most common varieties produced in the healthcare industry. Each of these three varies in terms of the problems they solve, the depth of their dialogue, and how they provide those answers.

Prescriptive Chatbots

Prescriptive chatbots are conversational, but they are not simply intended to provide information or responses but also therapeutic assistance.

Conversational Chatbots

Contextual technologies like conversational chatbots are built to respond to users based on the circumstances in which they find themselves. However, not all conversational chatbots provide the same amount of sophistication or depth of dialogue. Intelligent conversational chatbots provide more than canned responses and have a more excellent grasp of the situation. This is because these chatbots consider the whole discussion rather than individual lines. 

The more intelligent a chatbot is, its replies will seem more human. This is the point at which talks start sounding like real ones. NLU, NLP, and AI software underpin conversational chatbots, which comprehend human intent and language.

Informative Chatbots

Helpful information is provided by informative chatbots in the form of pop-ups, alerts, and breaking news. These bots often provide data and service to customers in an automated fashion. Chatbots are increasingly used by mental health and health news website users to get additional information on various topics.

To engage their audience and provide them with value, chatbot developers need to implement a variety of chatbots. Knowing your target demographic is essential for selecting the best chatbot. Every healthcare advice chatbot you make needs careful consideration of the regulations that govern it.

What are the biggest challenges of the Healthcare and telemedicine industry in 2023?

Staff shortages and exhausted healthcare worker 

The healthcare sector continues to face severe staffing issues in 2023. By 2025, "a gap of 200,000 to 450,000 registered nurses and 50,000 to 80,000 doctors" is anticipated, according to a recent McKinsey report. Also, since 2011, the American Medical Association (AMA), the Mayo Clinic, and Stanford Medicine have worked together to monitor physician burnout. Two out of three doctors questioned showed exhaustion, suggesting a "dramatic spike in physician burnout." 

Human resources generally are becoming more scarce, and the availability of clinical professionals is no exception. Changes in society have exacerbated the difficulty of finding and keeping qualified staff in the healthcare IT and support industries. Now, a large number of highly trained professionals may do their jobs from any location in the United States. These distant professions impact the local wage scale and the capacity to attract top people. 

The employee shortage has had the most excellent effect on rural health institutions. High vacancy rates will continue to plague the industry in 2023 as businesses struggle to compete with the higher wages offered by their urban counterparts. 

Data Security threats

The COVID-19 epidemic showed how sensitive patient health data is to ransomware, data breaches, and other cybersecurity threats. The dramatic rise in compromised patient data is mostly attributable to the recent expansion of digital health initiatives like telehealth doctor consultations. Over the following year, more healthcare operations will be moved online. 

Many healthcare providers are reluctant to react to threats and the increased vulnerability caused by decentralised systems. It means this pattern will continue. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights list is proof of that. 

What are some of the repetitive administrative tasks at a healthcare clinic?

The daily administrative tasks at healthcare clinics and telemedicine centers can vary depending on the specific setting and organizational structure. However, here are some everyday administrative tasks:

Appointment scheduling

Managing patient appointments, including booking, rescheduling, and canceling appointments. This may involve coordinating with healthcare providers, patients, and other staff members.

Patient Registration

Collecting patient information, creating electronic health records (EHR), and verifying insurance details. This includes ensuring all necessary forms and consents are completed.

Medical billing and coding

Handling insurance claims, processing payments, and ensuring proper medical procedures and services coding. This involves working with insurance companies, patients, and healthcare providers to resolve billing issues.

Maintaining patient records

Updating and organising patient files, both in electronic and paper formats. This includes documenting patient visits, test results, prescriptions, and other relevant information.

Managing medical supplies and inventory

Keeping track of medical supplies, ordering necessary items, and maintaining stock levels. This involves coordinating with vendors and monitoring expiration dates.

Coordinating referrals and authorisations

Assisting patients with referrals to specialists or other healthcare facilities. This may involve obtaining insurance pre-authorization for specific procedures or tests.

Answering phone calls and inquiries

Handling incoming calls, providing information, and addressing patient queries. This can involve scheduling appointments, relaying messages to healthcare providers, and providing essential medical advice when appropriate.

Data entry and documentation

Inputting patient information, updating records, and maintaining accurate databases. This includes ensuring compliance with privacy regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Coordinating telemedicine appointments

Scheduling and managing virtual appointments, ensuring patients have the necessary technology and instructions for telemedicine consultations.

Assisting with administrative tasks

Supporting healthcare providers and other staff members with various administrative duties, such as preparing documents, managing correspondence, and organising meetings.

How to use Chatbot for healthcare and telemedicine?

Appointment scheduling 

Appointment scheduling is a time-consuming and manual procedure. However, chatbots can substantially help healthcare facilities streamline this process. Chatbots are a time-saving and cost-effective option for patients and medical facilities since they use cutting-edge technology and automation. A simple conversation between the chatbot and the patient is needed to set up the appointment.

Chatbots in healthcare clinics use NLP algorithms to begin conversations with patients. The chatbot can comprehend and analyze the patient's input using these algorithms.

The chatbot asks patients for their names, contact information, desired appointment date and time, and reason for a visit. The bot can offer time slots or physicians based on the patient's choices and medical requirements.

Chatbots can link to the clinic's appointment booking system to check availability. The chatbot may check for available times by accessing the system's real-time data, so the patient always has the most up-to-date information. There is no longer any need for human interaction or dialogue.

After gathering the required information and confirming that the proposed appointment time is available, the chatbot will confirm the booking with the patient. The bot's confirmation message or the email will include appointment information, the clinic's location, and any additional instructions.

Patient Triage

Chatbots can help with patient screening in healthcare centers, making the process more organized and effective. Chatbots can help evaluate and rank patients based on their symptoms and medical needs with the help of advanced technology.

The first step is for the patient to talk to the chatbot through a website or a separate message app. The robot uses NLP techniques to understand what the patient says and ask appropriate follow-up questions. It records the patient's complaints, medical background, and other important information.

Using a mix of set decision trees, machine learning models, and professional standards, the robot figures out how bad the patient's situation is and what to do next. It can put people into different groups based on how quickly they need help, such as urgent, not urgent, or needing help right away.

The chatbot can give them specific advice based on the patient's treatment level. For less severe problems, it might offer self-care, house treatments, or make an appointment for later. In more severe cases, the robot can tell the patient to get medical help immediately by directing them to the local emergency room or informing them about who to call in an emergency.

Also, Chatbots can be connected to electronic health record (EHR) systems to access important patient data and make better treatment choices. They can also give people basic information about health services, center sites, hours of operation, and health care providers, which makes the patient's experience even better.

Multilingual patient support

Using advanced language processing, robots driven by GPT-4 can help international patients in healthcare centers much more. There are two parts to the technology that makes them work: training and release.

During training, GPT-4 is given much information about healthcare in many different languages, such as customer questions, medical books, and clinical standards. With this much training, the model can learn much about medical terms, everyday patient worries, and how to respond in different languages.

Once the training is done, the GPT-4 model is put to work as an agent in the contact system of the healthcare center. When a patient starts a chat, the AI gets the message and uses language processing skills to determine its meaning. It can figure out what language the patient is speaking and turn the information into a picture that doesn't depend on language. This makes it easier to understand.

Next, the chatbot comes up with a good answer in the patient's preferred language. It looks at the patient's questions, medical history, and the clinic's rules to give correct and helpful information. They can help set up appointments, answer general health questions, provide medicine directions, and more based on the patient's needs.

The chatbot could have a validation system to reduce mistakes. Cross-referencing replies with a certified medical knowledge base helps preserve the quality and dependability of the offered information.

Drug information

By tapping into extensive databases and reputable sources, chatbots can acquire information on medicines, such as their indications, contraindications, doses, interactions, and adverse effects. The chatbot has a simple interface for doctors to ask questions and get answers. 

The chatbot processes the user's query, locates the necessary data, and provides it to the physician in an easily digestible way. These chatbots undergo extensive training and validation procedures to ensure accuracy and dependability. Doctors save time, make better judgments, improve patient safety, and spend more time on direct patient care by employing chatbots for pharmacological information.

Medical professionals can ask SafedrugBot for advice on drug use by nursing moms. It gives physicians access to a wealth of information that may be used to enhance their practice, such as the potential risks associated with medications and possible alternatives. You may find this chatbot on the Telegram app.

Take care of coverage and claims

The claims procedure includes gathering and arranging medical records, invoices, and supporting paperwork. The clinic is responsible for ensuring the submitted claim is true to the services provided and follows all regulations set out by the insurance provider. The insurance company will calculate the amount it will pay the healthcare center based on the patient's coverage and the conditions of their insurance policy. Undoubtedly, this is a time-consuming scenario, but a chatbot can assist. 

Connecting the chatbot to the insurance system's APIs is a standard part of the integration procedure. APIs allow programs to communicate with one another and share resources and features. The chatbot can access insurance databases safely and in real-time thanks to integration with insurance technologies.

Once set up, the chatbot may use the insurance system's APIs to communicate with human operators. When users enter their insurance information into the chatbot, the API may double-check the policy's specifics, such as coverage and perks. After receiving a response from the API, the chatbot can share the data with the user or healthcare practitioner.

The chatbot can similarly utilize APIs to interact with the insurance system throughout the claims management process. It could assist patients in filing their claims with the appropriate paperwork and getting the data to the insurance provider's API. The chatbot may also check the claim status using the API regularly and inform the patient or medical facility accordingly.

Medication reminders

Medication reminders are a common problem for healthcare facilities, and chatbots may help by providing a more streamlined and efficient process. Medication adherence relies heavily on patients remembering to take their drugs as recommended. Therefore timely reminders are essential. Patients are more likely to take their medications as prescribed if clinics use chatbots to provide automatic, individualized reminders.

At the outset, patients communicate with the chatbot through an intuitive medium, such as a smartphone app or a website. The chatbot is programmed to inquire about the patient's medication regimen, dose, and any other special instructions from the doctor. This data is saved safely and used to send specific notifications.

The chatbot creates a reminder schedule based on the recommended timings after the patient's prescription data have been entered. The chatbot schedules reminders and delivers them to the patient through their chosen method of contact (email, text message, push notification, etc.) at the appropriate times. These reminders are simple, straightforward, and easy to comprehend, guaranteeing that patients will always take the correct medicine at the correct time.

Post-treatment follow up

Patients' post-treatment follow-up is an area where chatbots can significantly contribute. Several phases are often included, focusing on timely help and clear communication. First, the treating physician or medical facility might introduce the chatbot to the patient after therapy is complete. 

The chatbot can then begin a dialogue with the patient to get more information. Inquiring about the patient's state of health, the presence or absence of any symptoms or side effects, and the level of satisfaction with the therapy are all possible avenues to pursue. The chatbot can subsequently employ this information to draw a detailed picture of the patient's condition.

The chatbot could personalize its advice to the individual patient based on their replies. Self-care instructions, advice on coping with side effects, and recommendations for adjusting one's way of life are all examples. The chatbot can also provide resources like articles, videos, and connections to relevant websites if the user needs more information or assistance.

Mental health assistance

Mental health chatbots are trained to listen attentively and provide sympathetic responses. They offer a safe space free from criticism and stigma where people may share their innermost thoughts and feelings honestly. These chatbots use natural language processing methods to interpret user input and provide highly customized replies, including coping mechanisms, self-help activities, and suggestions.

Chatbots' capacity to track mental health over time is another key benefit. Conversations allow them to monitor users' emotional states, actions, and mental processes and see warning signals of trouble or risk factors before they escalate. As a result of this ongoing assessment, relevant recommendations or suggestions for obtaining professional treatment may be made early, facilitating early intervention.

Doing patient survey 

The use of chatbots for patient surveys is advantageous since it gives patients an easy way to voice their ideas. Patients may take part in surveys without new installations or complicated processes by incorporating chatbots into already communication channels like websites or mobile applications.

In addition, chatbots help patients answer survey questions correctly by guiding them through the procedure. Thanks to sophisticated natural language processing, chatbots can provide a conversational and engaging patient experience. Not only does this dynamic interaction increase the proportion of respondents who finish the survey, but it also increases the quality and depth of the replies.

Chatbots also make it easier to gather and analyze data in real-time. The data is collected and aggregated in real-time as patients fill out questionnaires, eliminating the need for time-consuming manual data input. This constant stream of information allows healthcare practitioners to keep tabs on developing trends, concerns, or problem areas. Healthcare providers will be better equipped to respond to patients' requirements and make the appropriate modifications and enhancements with this information.

Provide Education about public health concerns 

A healthcare chatbot can potentially address a wide variety of public health issues. Its usefulness extends to promoting public health initiatives and raising awareness about illness prevention, healthy lifestyle options, mental health, sexual and reproductive health, chronic disease management, environmental health, and disaster preparation. By discussing these issues, the chatbot may help people learn, get direction, and feel more confident in their health and wellness choices.

Benefits of Using Chatbots for the Healthcare and Telemedicine Industry 

24/7 availability for patients

The advent of telemedicine has allowed people to get medical treatment around the clock instead of just during regular business hours. Patients may schedule appointments for consultations or guidance with doctors on the weekends or holidays.

Reduced wait times and increased productivity

Telemedicine has dramatically improved the speed and effectiveness of medical care delivery. Patients may avoid waiting in a waiting room for long periods by scheduling virtual appointments. As a result, both patients and doctors may make better use of their time and energy.

Increased participation from patients and individualized care

 Direct interaction between patients and doctors is encouraged through telemedicine. Patient's quality of treatment is improved when they can interact with their doctors in real-time, ask questions, and get individualized responses.

Saving money by eliminating manual efforts.

Appointment scheduling, refill reminders, and other clerical activities are commonly automated on telemedicine systems. The time and money saved by automating routine tasks will enable healthcare practitioners to devote more attention to their patients.

Ability to expand to meet the rising need

Telemedicine's scalability means it can help hospitals and clinics meet rising patient demand effectively. Unlike in-person consultations, which are limited by available space, virtual consultations may serve unlimited patients at once.

Accessible healthcare for distant or neglected places

People in rural or underdeveloped regions may access medical treatment thanks to telemedicine, eliminating the need to travel great distances. Healthcare access and equality are enhanced since patients no longer travel long distances for medical consultations and follow-up treatment.

Healthcare condition monitoring and reinforcement

With telemedicine, doctors can keep tabs on their patients' health from afar, checking in on them often to record vital signs and look through their medical records. Disease treatment, postoperative care, and chronic condition management may all benefit from constant observation.

Data mining for knowledge and betterment of services

Telemedicine systems provide a mountain of data that may be mined for insights and used to enhance healthcare delivery. Clinical decision-making and quality improvement efforts may benefit from pooled information on patient outcomes, satisfaction, and therapy efficacy.

Encouragement of the use of telemedicine

Secure video conferencing, virtual waiting rooms, electronic prescriptions, and interaction with EHR systems are some extra features and support that telemedicine platforms may provide. These features improve the telemedicine experience for both patients and doctors.

Quick responses to frequently asked questions and other inquiries

By incorporating chatbots and virtual assistants into telemedicine systems, typical queries and concerns may be answered quickly and effectively. This frees up doctors' and nurses' time to focus on more complicated situations by eliminating the need for human participation in routine inquiries.

How can Ionio help?

With further technological development, the future of healthcare chatbots seems bright. They'll keep improving at interpreting human speech and making tailored suggestions. Don't let go of this opportunity!

Ionio can help you to build a custom chatbot for your healthcare clinic and improve the ROI!

Wondering how to boost ROI with a healthcare chatbot? Let's schedule a call with our CEO, Rohan, today!

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Behind the Blog 👀
Moumita Roy

Moumita Roy is a Content writer & has been working in SaaS and AI industry for the last 3 years. When she is not at her computer, you can find her hiking in the mountains, binge-reading fiction, or cuddling up with her fur baby. She shares her content marketing journey on LinkedIn.

Now I can share my two cents on chatbots confidently!
Rohan Sawant

Rohan is the Founder & CEO of Ionio. I make everyone write all these nice articles... 🥵