Chatbots – The Future Healthcare Assistants

Technological advancements have drastically affected our lives and our day-to-day activities. They have made our lives easier, transforming complex procedures into simple ones. Modern technological marvels have revolutionized each and every sector ranging from education, transportation, business, healthcare, and so on.

One such technological innovation is Chatbot which is being utilized in various industries and businesses in an effective and productive way. The healthcare industry is not far behind in adopting this technological wonder. The advent of intelligent personal assistants (IPA) supported by machine learning is no longer a distant dream. Leading smart toy manufacturers are implementing AI in their toys to assist in the cognitive development of small children. Similarly, the healthcare sector is also implementing chatbots in providing complete support and assistance to the patients.

A Pathbreaking Tool in Healthcare Support

All medical questions do not need the full attention of physicians to be answered. But the concerned people may remain confused or clueless if the questions remain unanswered. For example, an inexperienced mother can have numerous questions related to her baby including the perfect temperature for baby’s bath, how much sleep is required for the baby, and so on. These are relevant questions but do not need a physician’s response. In this case, chatbots can come in handy. A digital health chatbot constantly supported and taught by physicians can provide the required information and clarify the doubts of the concerned persons.

Chatbots can be used in medical practices in a variety of ways. They can be utilized in scheduling doctor appointments based on the severity of symptoms. They can be used for monitoring symptoms of patients and notify nurses when parameters are out of control. Chatbots can also help homecare assistants in staying informed about patients’ physical status.

These technological assistants can also assist in billing, inventory, and insurance claims management. Chatbot application is still being tested in chronic illness management including Type 2 Diabetes and mental health management.

Ethical and Secure Utilization

Chatbots can be properly utilized in healthcare institutions, keeping in mind the ethical and security concerns related to it. In order to become a part of a medical system, chatbots have to go through various privacy and security checkups.  They have to be HIPAA compliant in the US, to make sure that patient data and personal information are received and stored safely and securely, away from data breaches and hacking. Chatbots can learn and make new connections thanks to AI. Hence, the concerned authorities should design knowledge base management rules to make sure that new information derived from the interaction is still compliant with ethical medical practices.

A chatbot should be allowed in the market only after its initial data has been tested and properly verified by the concerned medical personnel. It is good to start with data retrieved from existing drug prospects, FAQ sections, and medical manuals. But in order to be up to date, information gathered from latest research should also be included.

Assisting Doctors and Patients

A question emerging in everyone’s minds is if chatbots will replace doctors and nurses one day. Such developments have already been seen in many different fields like engineering, manufacturing, and mining. The fact in this situation is that everyone is unique and some medical conditions are unusual, which will require human understanding and skill to deal with. Hence, we can say that chatbots can definitely assist doctors in medical practices, but can never replace them entirely.

Chatbots can play the role of a trustworthy assistant. They can also play the role of an attentive and caring nurse, who provides registration services, communicates and entertains the patients, entertains the patient until the doctor sees them. They can also provide the patients simple, reassuring advice.

The modern-day healthcare service providers can depend on chatbots to assist and provide uninterrupted 24/7 service to the patients, answering their simple questions using pre-designed answers. They will not provide a diagnosis but will notify the patients to take timely medicine, assist them to check for an unusual side effect at any time of the day, and schedule the doctor’s appointment first thing in the morning.

Doctors can efficiently utilize chatbots to their advantage. A chatbot can also be used in replacing databases with medicine interactions and dosage calculators with ease. Moreover, such uses can enhance both the database and the chatbot.

Chatbots are revolutionizing almost every sector including insurance, banking, and retail. The medical sector has also been metamorphosed with this technological advancement. But, the concerned authorities should pay extra attention to the automated functionalities. A simple mistake in this area can cost lives. Hence, it is best to accomplish simple tasks by using chatbots, to save precious time of doctors and to ensure the accuracy of billing.

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