According to research published by Meticulous Research, the global healthcare virtual agent market is expected to reach $1.76 billion by 2025. While the market is rapidly growing, it needs to be said loud and clear: AI-driven technology won’t replace doctors and nurses anytime soon. But virtual agents can significantly improve healthcare professionals’ work comfort by taking care of the repeatable, administrative part of their job. Consequently, improving patient’s experience and bringing significant cost-reduction to healthcare facilities.
How can virtual agents help hospitals, medical centers and private practices? Here are the 4 most popular use cases for virtual agents in the healthcare industry:
Scheduling appointments is frustrating for patients and healthcare professionals. Finding, changing, canceling, and confirming dates often requires both parties to devote time to something they do not want to deal with. For receptionists, it means a lot of time spent on simple activities such as searching for the right date, confirmation calls, or making any changes at doctor’s or patient’s request. For patients, contacting their health care facility often means waiting on hold for 20 minutes just to say that they are canceling their appointment — most of them won’t show up instead of waiting on hold.
Properly implemented virtual agents can help patients easily manage appointments without waiting on hold or needing to call during specific business hours. Receptionists and assistants can focus on more meaningful tasks and interactions with customers, while the virtual agents take care of the mundane ones. What’s more, they can perform tasks employees knew were needed but didn’t have time to do, e.g., reminders about upcoming visits.
A better scheduling experience has benefits for the business (decreased number of no-shows, employees don’t waste their time on repetitive administrative work) and for patients — who won’t need to set aside half an hour to reschedule a doctor’s appointment.
Ordering and obtaining regular medication is a recurring hassle that only adds to the burden of dealing with a chronic illness. Issuing repeat prescriptions to patients with chronic conditions engages not only the patient but also administrative employees and doctors, taking their time and energy that could be spent on more meaningful tasks. Virtual agents can streamline this process. They can collect all the necessary information during a structured call with a patient. The information is sent to an internal tool used by the doctor. All they need to do is check the correctness of the data and issue the prescription. This process is way faster for all parties involved while still ensuring safety because a medical professional checks if everything is correct. When the prescription is issued, the virtual agent will automatically contact the patient to let them know that they can collect it.
Virtual agents not only handle incoming questions and requests but also proactively contact patients to keep them in the loop and increase their engagement. From notifying them about available test results and sending emergency notifications (e.g., sudden appointment date change) to reminders for parents about upcoming checkups for their kids. This is a cost-effective way to reduce time spent on calls to remind a patient or their carer about an upcoming appointment. It’s greatly appreciated by patients, who often simply forget or mix up dates.
Patients have many questions with a standard answer, like opening times, payments, and preparing for medical tests. Answering them is frustrating to humans, but not to virtual agents. They can take care of them, and because they can handle hundreds of calls simultaneously, in case of traffic peaks, they will respond to everyone in a timely matter. If you decide to implement a virtual agent that answers FAQs, you can start with a small set of questions and slowly add ones that keep coming up in conversations. In case of any emergencies or unforeseeable events, new information can be quickly added (for example, new COVID-19 precautions) to the virtual agent conversation flow.
The use of AI in healthcare is rapidly growing and so are concerns from healthcare professionals and patients. The reluctance to adopt new technology mainly comes from a lack of reliable information about the capabilities and role of AI and concerns about data privacy and security.
To ensure the privacy and security of patient’s sensitive data, find a conversational AI platform that is HIPAA compliant. It will ensure that access to data is restricted to essential personnel. If you are based in the EU, you also need a vendor that is GDPR compliant, which ensures that your data is stored in European Union, and among other things will be deleted after a specific time or on request.
Nowadays, conversational AI platforms like Talkie.ai make virtual agent solutions accessible to nontech businesses – like hospitals, clinics, and medical companies. Implementation can be done in small iterations, without a big up-front investment, and the virtual agent itself can be managed through a user-friendly platform. If you want to learn how Talkie.ai can support your healthcare facility, book our AI experts here.
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