Healthcare Chatbots: Revolutionizing the Industry with AI

1. Chatbots as a new trend in healthcare? Why now?

As the technology of AI is developing fast, chatbots have gradually started to occupy people's attention. In order to enhance the quality of life and promote health care services for everyone, on one hand, chatbots can be used widely in some simple repetitive medical tasks in healthcare industry, for example, patient education.          On the other hand, chatbots provide a great convenience to doctors in some certain clinical decision making process by providing professional knowledge base and assistance without affecting doctors' own ideas.

Certainly, with the development of AI technology in recent years, many people are concerned about the future of chatbots, especially their safety. So far, there are few reports about the security problems of chatbots in healthcare industry. As Wiener (2017) points out that one of the most critical risks is that AI-based products may replace human jobs and doctors should consider whether they feel comfortable using them instead of humans to provide care to patients. However, it is important to understand that AI-based products can provide assistance to doctors rather than replace them. With the development of technology, chatbots will continue to play an irreplaceable role in helping human beings and enhancing people's life quality.

2. What factors are expected to drive the success of healthcare chatbots in the coming years?    

In healthcare industry, chatbots can help doctors to make some simple medical judgments with the ability to learn from data. In addition, smart chatbots can be used in health care process management and provide personalized medical inquiry services to patients based on patient background information.

Healthcare organizations will continue to invest in chatbots to achieve the following three goals: value-based care, cost reduction and clinical decision support. According to data from IDC (2018), healthcare organizations expect their chatbot investment percentage will reach 20% by 2020 and the market size of this industry is expected to reach $3.86 billion in 2022.

3. What are some potential limitations of healthcare chatbots?

One of the main limitations of chatbots in this industry is the accuracy problem because the chatbot's ability to make medical judgments will be affected by its knowledge base. In addition, healthcare organizations should face some other serious problems when they are handling their chatbot data, such as confidentiality and cybersecurity.

In addition, if the chatbot does not have enough knowledge about the industry and cannot interact with patients well during their inquiry, it will affect its operation as a customer service channel.

4. How can healthcare chatbots help doctors and patients?

There are two main ways in which chatbots can help doctors and patients. One is about the chatbot's ability to make simple medical judgments, while the other is about gathering patient background information for personalized medicine.

When it comes to making medical judgments, doctors can use healthcare chatbots to get help with preliminary diagnosis and suggest treatment plans or ask questions which are difficult to answer or beyond their knowledge-based level. As for the patients, healthcare chatbots will provide them with simple and fast clinical inquiry services.

5. What are some basic guidelines to follow when designing a healthcare chatbot?

As we mentioned above, in order to design a high-quality healthcare chatbot, designers must pay attention to the following factors: Knowledge Base Accuracy and Coverage, Understanding of Patient Intent, Data Protection and Confidentiality, Security of the Platform.

6. What are some common chatbot integrations in healthcare?

Currently, with the development of new technologies such as AI and blockchain which have been widely applied to health care, the integration between chatbots and other technologies is prevalent. For example, at the end of last year (2017), an employee chatbot was launched by Philips Hue which can be used to control lighting and temperature. The company will continue to explore the application of its technology in other fields such as health care.

Currently, with the development of new technologies such as AI and blockchain which have been widely applied to health care, the integration between chatbots and other technologies is prevalent. For example, at the end of last year (2017), an employee chatbot was launched by Philips Hue which can be used to control lighting and temperature. The company will continue to explore the application of its technology in other fields such as health care.

7. How can chatbots help healthcare organizations?

Chatbots not only allow healthcare organizations to do simple medical judgments, but also act as an assistant for doctors. For example, the chatbot can help healthcare workers predict patients' symptoms and ask questions which are difficult or beyond their knowledge-based level. And it also helps doctors make some quick decisions based on the patient's symptoms.

8. Who are the potential competitors in this industry?

Currently, the major chatbot platform providers in this industry are Google, Microsoft, IBM and Facebook. These companies have created their own professional medical chatbot platforms mainly for doctors or healthcare organizations. However, these well-known chatbots are only suitable for specific business scenarios. Therefore, there are several potential competitors who can emerge in this industry.

9. What does the future for healthcare chatbots look like?

In the next five years, more and more healthcare organizations will invest their budgets in building chatbot solutions for doctors and patients to automate some of their daily operations, such as medical inquiries and appointments scheduling, etc. Chatbots will not only play a key role in the medical industry but also help hospitals save more money. In addition, chatbots will be integrated with other technologies such as IoT and Big Data to develop new services which can provide personalized medicine.


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