Discussions

Chatbots in healthcare

Posted by Rachel Haviland, PhD @rachelhaviland, Oct 9, 2018

I'm finishing up my presentation on chatbots in healthcare for next month's conference and I'd love your input! If you're using, or considering using, chatbots to connect with your patients and their families, how do you plan to use them and what core problem do you see that they will solve for you? What would you like to know more about chatbots?

Looking forward to your presentation, Rachel! We aren't currently using chatbots, but we have started dipping our toes into researching them. Our initial interest is to help patients/customers navigate to the information that they need on our website. Whether it's learning more about a condition, treatment, making an appointment or finding the right specialist. I see it as two-fold, helping the customer navigate the terms we may use for things vs. what they use and giving that concierge feel that provides them with a more tailored experience on our site.

Rachel, I would be very interested in hearing about what you have found, Rachel. I'd like to know how hospitals, health systems and clinics are using chatbots to help their patients and in what ways are the chatbots helping patients? I think Lucy hits on some great points. Wish I could make it down to Jacksonville this year. BORTLES!

Hi Rachel! I wasn't exactly sure what you meant by chatbots, so I had to go look it up first. My hospital isn't currently using them, but I'd be interested in knowing where we could put them to use and what the benefits of using them are. I hope that helps!

@sarahbello

Hi Rachel! I wasn't exactly sure what you meant by chatbots, so I had to go look it up first. My hospital isn't currently using them, but I'd be interested in knowing where we could put them to use and what the benefits of using them are. I hope that helps!

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Thanks Sarah, your reply was very useful! And thank you for taking the time to look it up. Just like you, not everyone has heard of chatbots yet, so the first part of my presentation will explain what they are. My favorite description comes from Ogilvy: A chatbot is a piece of software designed to simulate human conversation, and often powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, designed to automate one-on-one interactions, often eliminating the need for a human.

@RandallPost

Rachel, I would be very interested in hearing about what you have found, Rachel. I'd like to know how hospitals, health systems and clinics are using chatbots to help their patients and in what ways are the chatbots helping patients? I think Lucy hits on some great points. Wish I could make it down to Jacksonville this year. BORTLES!

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Sorry you won't be able to join us Randall, but we'll figure out how to get the information out to you!

@rachelhaviland

Sorry you won't be able to join us Randall, but we'll figure out how to get the information out to you!

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We should schedule a post-conference blogpost on chatbots, @rachelhaviland and also consider a webinar in 2019. I think this topic will really interest our conference attendees.

@DanHinmon

We should schedule a post-conference blogpost on chatbots, @rachelhaviland and also consider a webinar in 2019. I think this topic will really interest our conference attendees.

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That would be great Dan, thank you!

We don’t use them but it will be exciting to learn more.

@rachelhaviland

That would be great Dan, thank you!

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@DanHinmon Great idea. Count me in!!

@rachelhaviland at AtlantiCare, we have been researching this functionality for a year and just signed with XSell Technologies. We plan to pilot this chat as part of a cardiology campaign we'll be launching soon. The chat personas will be managed by six navigators from our central access center (phone center) to help visitors to our website get to the information they're looking for quicker and ultimately book an appointment with one of our providers.

We're not using chatbots either, but I'm really interested in this topic. Specifically, I've been wondering if a chatbot could handle the complex issues and questions healthcare organizations can get. But then I remember that really, my job is simply to route the person to the appropriate department for their answer, and I often perhaps get more emotionally invested than I should — so maybe a chatbot would do great! I wish I could be there to hear the presentation in person, and I'd love to participate in a webinar or some other follow-up.

So a website concierge type chatbot could be very useful for you and a big time (and energy) saver! It can ask the site visitor a few questions and then direct them to the right department or even the right person they need to speak with to get the right answer. It could even help them with an automated function such as booking an appointment, renewing a prescription or getting information about their condition etc.

As an aside, chatbots are also being studied for therapeutic intervention. Here's a small study for the successful use of a chatbot in treating Depression in college-age adults:

"Delivering Cognitive Behavior Therapy to Young Adults With Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety Using a Fully Automated Conversational Agent (Woebot): A Randomized Controlled Trial."

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28588005

Thanks for sharing Matthew. I have something similar in my presentation!

@soccerpen

@rachelhaviland at AtlantiCare, we have been researching this functionality for a year and just signed with XSell Technologies. We plan to pilot this chat as part of a cardiology campaign we'll be launching soon. The chat personas will be managed by six navigators from our central access center (phone center) to help visitors to our website get to the information they're looking for quicker and ultimately book an appointment with one of our providers.

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That's great! Looking forward to seeing how it helps you!

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