The healthcare industry has been under immense pressure over the past couple of years and needs to embrace digital transformation as much as possible to scale up and provide healthcare services in a better manner. So, how do they do that? How can the healthcare sector improve customer satisfaction? The answer, to a great extent, lies in reaching patients over the app they use 23 times a day and automating conversations right there. How do they do that? By deploying WhatsApp chatbots for healthcare.
How are medical WhatsApp chatbots used in healthcare?
1. Assessing symptoms
Your patients can chat with your healthcare chatbot on WhatsApp to self-report their symptoms and get a diagnosis. This is not intended to replace doctors or healthcare professionals in any way, rather, these bots are meant to supplement them and help them work more effectively. Such assessments are meant for preliminary diagnoses, not final ones.
2. Booking appointments for your hospital or healthcare service
After assessing the patient’s symptoms and generating a preliminary diagnosis, the bot can refer the patient to departments and doctors within your hospital, share their schedules, and even help patients book appointments for consultations and check-ups. You can include your healthcare chatbot with Google Calendar to make the booking process even more convenient for your patients and reduce the effort involved.
3. Appointment reminders
Missed appointments can cost your hospital or clinic quite a bit of money. In fact, it’s so costly to the healthcare sector that the NHS loses £216 million to missed appointments on a yearly basis because 1 out of every 20 patients who make appointments just don’t show up .for them.
A lot of these misses could be avoided, quite a few of them get missed because the patients simply forget that they had an appointment in the first place. You can use your WhatsApp bots to send appointment reminders and get your patients to confirm that they’re going to show up.
4. Test results
You can use your bot to send test results over to your patients so that they don’t need to physically collect them. Your patients can even access your healthcare chatbot on WhatsApp to see which of their reports are pending and could even book tests over the bot.
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5. Medicine Reminders
With everything that they have going on in their lives, people can very easily forget to take their medicines on time. That goes for youngsters who have to worry about balancing school, extracurricular activities & their social lives, adults who spend a huge chunk of their day working and traveling, as well as senior patients whose memories might not be serving them too well.
A WhatsApp chatbot could be used to send reminders out to them whenever they have to take their medicines so that they take them on time without forgetting, thus keeping them in a healthier state and helping them recover in a faster manner from whatever ails them.
6. Making payments
Waiting in line at a hospital to book medical consultations and pay for them can be quite annoying. This is especially true when people have to come early, wait in line, and then figure out whether they want to go home and come back for their appointment or just wait at the hospital or clinic for an hour (or a few) till it’s time for their appointment.
You can ease this pain by simply allowing people to book appointments and make their payments directly over your WhatsApp chatbot. And since they would pay in advance for the appointments, the chance of them missing their appointments would be greatly reduced.
7. Providing support and relevant information
When you use a WhatsApp chatbot for healthcare, you can provide instant responses to your patients’ queries, especially the FAQs which keep coming in all the time and don’t need personal attention from medical staff. These repetitive tasks can be handled by your AI-powered chatbot, right on WhatsApp when you have access to the WhatsApp Business API.
This allows you to provide healthcare services faster, free up time for your healthcare professionals to focus on tasks that would create more value for your patients, and even improve your healthcare organization’s customer satisfaction levels in a more efficient manner.
Once again, these chatbots are not trying to replace healthcare providers, their purpose is to help automate simple patient queries that do not require the attention of a healthcare provider. If any queries need personal attention from healthcare professionals, these queries can be transferred seamlessly to them via the live chat functionality.
8. Uploading documents
Patients can use the WhatsApp chatbot to send copies of necessary documents directly over the bot instead of having to email them, upload them on the healthcare institution’s website, or carry them along for their visit, thus reducing the fear and eliminating the consequences of having left their documents at home, which leads to higher levels of customer satisfaction. Chatbot technology makes it possible for patients to upload their documents on popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, and through integrations, these documents are automatically stored in the healthcare companies’ databases.
9. Storing the patients’ health information for doctors to access it
You can integrate your WhatsApp chatbot with your database and all your systems to collect all your patients’ information and medical history in one place so that doctors can access it easily without needing to hunt through a storeroom full of files and can make well-informed decisions at a faster pace, thus serving their patients faster and better, and even saving lives because the patient’s medical history can be accessed in a speedier manner.
Integrating your chatbot with your backend systems even reduces the time spent on data entry.
10. Sharing digital copies of prescriptions and health records
If your patients need medical attention when they’re in a whole different part of the country (or even another part of the world), they’d need access to their prescriptions and health records. If they don’t have physical copies on them, you should make it possible for them to request and download digital copies of these in an easy manner. And what’s easier than sending a quick message over the app that they use the most?
Make it easy for your patients to get access to the right healthcare services wherever they are by letting them access their prescriptions and medical history directly over a WhatsApp chatbot.
11. Mental Health Counselling
Conversational chatbots making use of NLP can be used to supplement the work of mental health professionals. They aren’t going to replace licensed therapists, but rather, they’ll augment their work. These chatbots can even perform cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to some extent.
WhatsApp healthcare chatbots vs COVID-19
WhatsApp chatbots can be used to find slots for vaccinations and to identify testing centers in the patient’s vicinity. COVIDAsha even uses an AI-powered chatbot deployed on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram to connect citizens with suppliers of critical medicines and medical facilities. It has even been highlighted in the national news on NDTV because of the bot’s ability to serve rural India in 7 regional languages.
This article about “11 powerful ways how WhatsApp chatbots are helping in healthcare!” was originally published in Engati blogs.
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