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Published November 18, 2022

What you need to know before building a healthcare chatbot

A healthcare chatbot is a virtual nurse that your patients can fit into your pocket. Find out their top 6 use cases and how to build them.

The urgency of response is what every business seeks to serve its customers. But when it comes to healthcare, customer support is literally a patient’s life support. the choice is between urgency or emergency because it’s your patient’s health at stake, not just a sale.

A healthcare chatbot can help free you from this growing pressure without compromising on the quality of patient support.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need about healthcare chatbots — knowing their benefits, identifying their best use cases, and building one that meets your every need.

What are chatbots in the healthcare industry?

We already saw how chatbots took a huge burden off the healthcare system during the pandemic.

Many healthcare facilities lacking the physical resources to support the massive number of patients have started using chatbots. In addition, patients started initiating live chats through their healthcare provider’s Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, or website.

These automated conversations allowed them to self-diagnose, schedule tests, book appointments, and manage their treatments in real time. It proved that a medical chatbot could serve as a virtual nurse while sitting in your pocket.

Measuring the impact of healthcare chatbots.

Benefits of chatbots in healthcare

Many medical professionals wonder — “How will our patients trust their health to a bot?”

It’s a fair concern since we all want personalized attention from doctors or nurses regarding our health.

But with conversational artificial intelligence (AI), your chatbot can make your patient engagement much more human. A Juniper study forecasts that healthcare virtual assistants will take care of 75% of interactions without needing any human operator.

Here’s a quick look at the key benefits they’ll help you unlock:

  • Give your doctors and nurses more time to focus on essential treatment.

  • Reduce unnecessary medical tests and procedures.

  • Prioritize hospital admissions better.

  • Tracking patient data and treatment progress.

  • Easy access to personalized medical information for each patient.

  • Save the patient’s time and money.

You save a lot of money when you make patient interactions more efficient. Did you know an Accenture study projects that healthcare AI applications will lead to annual savings of $150 billion in the US alone?

Top 6 chatbot use cases in healthcare

  1. Track patient history

A doctor works like a detective. The more detailed a patient’s health record is, the more accurate his diagnosis and treatment will be. Chatbots can ask patients simple questions to collect essential data like their names, symptoms, medication history, and insurance details.

As their tests and treatment progress, you can update their records in your system. So when your doctors pull up a patient’s file, they’ll have a clear view of his medical history.

  1. Personalized health recommendations

Healthcare chatbots use artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning to provide smarter and more natural responses. Their training data includes disease symptoms, diagnostics, markers, and treatment protocols.

This allows your chatbot to screen patients early and sort out the ones who need urgent care from those who can do with self-care. Your can offer an improved patient recovery support giving them necessary medical and nutritional recommendations based on their vital stats and health goals.

It can even assist your doctors in answering questions and prescribing the necessary drugs, dosage, and refills in real-time more efficiently.

  1. Booking medical appointments

Chatbots save your patients from the stress of wandering from department to department in your facility, wondering what to do.

They ask your users questions about their health issues to match you with relevant physicians and show you their schedules. Then, you can pick an available time slot convenient for you. The chatbots can even send reminders about your upcoming appointments.

  1. Offering mental health support

According to the World Health Organization, for every 100,000 mental health patients in the world, there are only 3-4 trained therapists available.

Mental health chatbots can help fill this gap through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). As a result, patients with depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issues can now find a virtual shoulder to lean on.

You can train your chatbot to identify subtle changes in the patient’s speech patterns before giving a response. Then, if it detects the patient is severely distressed, it can automatically alert their human therapist or prompt the patient to call their helpline.

  1. Automating insurance work

We all know insurance paperwork is stressful in the middle of a health crisis, but it’s unavoidable. Chatbots can automate this whole process by giving patients a one-stop gateway to check their coverage, file new claims, and track old ones. Doctors can also use this information to approve requests and billing payments.

It can answer all their queries and connect patients to insurance providers based on their unique needs.

  1. Regulatory compliance

Healthcare organizations follow many data security and privacy regulations to safeguard patients' medical information. For example, healthcare institutions in the US must be HIPAA compliant and EU-based ones must be GDPR compliant.

AI-powered chatbots can identify and prevent any fraud or breaches by safely documenting every activity of the treatment process.

Types of medical chatbots

If you’re looking for inspiration, here are a few examples of chatbots successfully providing healthcare services today.

  1. A health goal management chatbot built on Chatfuel to motivate users and share public health information.

EVA by Bots4Health

  1. An AI-powered virtual assistant to seamlessly manage the patient’s journey from end to end.

Livi by UCHealth

  1. A chatbot that provides essential cancer education and help identify early signs of cancer.

Cancer Chatbot by CSource

  1. A virtual nurse to track your vitals and medicine consumption to ensure you meet all health indicators.

Florence bot

  1. A conversational AI mental health chatbot curating personalized journeys with a more holistic focus.

Therachat mental health chatbot

  1. A virtual assistant bot for physicians that makes the process of prescribing drugs much more efficient.


Future of chatbots in healthcare

Chatbots aren’t meant to replace doctors or nurses, but they will make the whole patient care experience a lot simpler and faster. Your patients will have a 24/7 virtual nurse in their pocket to track and optimize their health journey in real time.

Physicians won’t be drowning in paperwork anymore and will be able to focus on what they care about most — improving patient experience.

Also, you won’t have to keep making technological investments again and again to improve them. They’ll get smarter as they learn from your growing data.

How to build your medical chatbot

No, we don’t save the tricky part for the end. We save the best for last. There’s no one more qualified to manage your automated conversations because only you know what patients struggle with on a day-to-day basis.

With a platform like Chatfuel, you can do what you know best without struggling with any coding.

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Using the Chatfuel drag-and-drop builder to automate your conversations.

We recommend checking out our high-conversion healthcare templates if you want to launch a simple and powerful chatbot within 15 minutes.

Chatfuel’s ready-to-go healthcare templates for a variety of use cases.

You can build, test and launch your healthcare chatbot from scratch and enjoy up to 50 free conversations so you know your bot is actually engaging your patients. Sign up now and try it yourself.