During the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses in all industries witnessed their usual processes crumble as work-from-home strategies had to be enforced. The healthcare sector perhaps taking the worst hit due to immense pressure and on-premise, 24/7 support was not averse to this. Healthcare strategies taking a 360-degree turn found automated AI integrated solutions to be the most effective. With a plethora of digital tools and platforms available along with chatbots and virtual assistants, there are many more pathways than before for healthcare marketers to communicate with the world.
The main challenge is to convey the proper message to the right audience based on predictions and intelligent patterns at the right moment. But the sheer number of alternatives be convoluted for anyone. This trend only intends to keep going as the world grows more accustomed to digital interactions and virtual assistants. By the year-end 2020, a whopping 85 percent of our customer engagements take place without even talking to a human being!
People today belong to the digital era where they expect convenience, quick delivery, and, most essentially, a range of choices to pick their best alternative form. They wish to be able to reach out and communicate with healthcare businesses anytime and anywhere. The only obvious solution is to meet such expectations by opening up multiple communication channels and employing healthcare virtual assistants for hospitals being one of the primary healthcare resources.
Pain Points of The Healthcare Sector In Terms of Customer Engagement and Interactions
Lack of use of technology in healthcare leading to poor patient experience
- Discovery & Scheduling: It is very difficult for people to identify and find the right doctor or specialty hospital for their needs. Some are at a faraway location which increases the risk in cases of healthcare emergencies. It also takes a painful turnaround time to check for a doctor’s availability online and offline, make an appointment, and reschedule appointments if the occasion arises. And the problem was seen worsening with this pandemic hit.
- Unnecessary paperwork: The patients feel harassed by the need to maintain hard copies of all prescriptions and health reports from various doctors that they visit. Traveling patients may not always have the luxury or mind to carry all their prescriptions of health conditions that are not chronic, which causes a lot of difficulty and delay in treatment should they fall ill. They also are made to run around filing for insurance claims at grueling and heart-wrenching times.
- Poor post-treatment care & engagement: There is no proper after treatment care, patient assistance in recovery, or support provided by the hospitals, which makes it seem like they only care for the money a patient can offer to them and creates a feeling of resentment among such aggrieved people.
- Huge patient-doctor divide: The channels to communication between the doctor and a patient has several levels of clearances, which can be a great inconvenience at times of distress to the patient. Reaching their preferred doctor means making a phone call that’s often not answered, and when it is picked up, the doctor is either claimed to be busy or unavailable. This causes patients to feel lost in times of dire need, defeating the purpose of the healthcare sector.
- Lack of information: Patients or their caregivers need to visit the hospital time and time again to have minor queries like the right diet, exercise routine, test schedule, and others answered. This causes more inconvenience to their recovery schedule than the main process of healing itself.
- Lack of personalization: The mode of patient care services available may be automated SMS for notification or emails are not personalized enough. They are not the mode of communication the usual patients regularly use. Patients are most accustomed to instant messaging mediums like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, healthcare applications today
- Only one mode of communication: Most healthcare providers usually have one mode of communication available like call or through the mail but because of this most of the queries go unanswered. And health care providers have to focus on repetitive tasks of scheduling appointments or booking tests for patients when all this can be easily automated.
How Can Virtual Assistants atop Multi-Channel Messaging Be Used?
Virtual assistants atop multi-channel messaging with potential patients and the target audience can help healthcare providers reach out to them and help the patient reach out to you using various platforms such as WhatsApp, Google’s Business Messaging, website, RCS Messaging, Apple Business Chat, app assistance, IVR and more. This experience can be turned seamless so that the transition between such channels is natural and the customer can choose their preference regarding how they want to reach you.
The benefit of multi-channel messaging in healthcare is that healthcare providers’ ease of availability makes a patient prefer services due to the element of constant presence. Discussed below are areas where we see multi-channel messaging from and to the audience help the healthcare sector.
In Hospital Journey and Post Treatment:
One of the biggest benefits of healthcare virtual assistants is that they can move from one channel to another is the factor of personalization it brings to both the hospitals and customers, so there is a sense of approachability. Such bots can help a patient by predicting the most relevant doctor based on the patient’s symptoms and not taking in worst-case scenarios. Appointment booking becomes easier with calendar integration of the user’s schedule, thereby automatically suggesting possible slots. Patients can also access location information and book appointments with the nearest hospital branch with the help of healthcare chatbots present on platforms like Google Search page or Maps enabled by Google’s Business Messages. The healthcare virtual assistant template can generate automated appointment confirmations to save losing money from missed appointments.
Below is the example of Metropolis Google’s Business Messaging virtual assistant, helping patients book tests right from Google Search page and Google Maps.
It’s incredibly easy to manage waitlists and reschedule appointments, find the patient’s insurance information and other details to help them in the best possible manner.
Healthcare establishments can also focus on patient engagement with feedback regarding the overall service, doctors, and nurses, giving room for improved quality in their services. Healthcare virtual assistants in multi-channel messaging can also facilitate the following functions for hospitals:
- Share details to the incoming patient before their appointments such as the doctor’s cabin number, the tests required, and other basic information such as wait time.
- Manage previous reports of the patient and pay their bills through the bot and multiple secured payment gateways.
- Patient monitoring by sending them automated reminders to take their scheduled medicines, exercise, and prep for upcoming appointments.
- Access complete details about the prescription within the bot, with the ability to order medicines online, saving time and inconvenience.
- Allow the patients to live chat through instant connect with the doctor via video call.
- Patient insurance information access and assistance in claiming health insurance through healthcare bot.
- Educating patients regarding their ailments, the course of their treatment, medicine dose schedule, precautions to be taken, diet, and their road towards recovery.
- Providing a personalized FAQ chatbot for patients to find answers to all their common questions and concerns.
Healthcare virtual assistants for accompaniment
Multi-Channel Messaging can immensely help your target audience, patients, and recovering patients to improve their health using your assistance.
- Tracking and guiding the users of such healthcare applications or bots through workouts, guided meditation, nutrition guides, sleep scheduling across multiple channels such as apps, email, voice reminders, and more.
- Using notifications through different modes for reminders to form healthy habits within the target audience.
- Suggesting healthier meal alternatives for users according to their health goals as presented in the input by taking them to the designated website.
- Tracking the user’s health or workout habits and preferences to answer voice input questions like, “Hey chatbot, how many calories did I lose today?” or “Hey chatbot, what is on my workout schedule for cardio?”, thereby moving to different channels seamlessly to display results.
Assistance in Drug or Equipment Delivery Processing
The customer and target audience isn’t the only front that healthcare chatbots help you to manage. Acquiring drugs and equipment to avoid a shortage, overstocking, or lacking the aforementioned are common problems faced by healthcare establishments. The worst situation can arise when the patient forgets about restocking on recurring medicines and essential equipment as per their expiry. This can be easily taken care of by creating an order cycle and inventory check using bots and AI in healthcare systems for such patients in the following manner:
- The bot can scan thousands of documents and FAQs to answer questions of patients or caretakers about drugs and equipment usage through document cognition on multiple channels.
- The bot can conduct Image processing and OCR to repeat order ongoing medicines before the last dose ends.
- Allows patients to track orders with status updates and make secured payments.
- Integrate the devices with voice assistant channels for ease of use and round the clock access.
As seen above, the use of multi-channel messaging and AI in healthcare establishments helps boost their reputation, goodwill, and customer engagement. By integrating to the latest healthcare optimization, such establishments can increase not just the quality of services, but provide timely assistance in the various stages of someone who needs help. Not just this, it also takes the load of repetitive tasks from health workers.
By sticking through the journey of discovering an ailment, the treatment, and post-treatment phases, you can reinforce credibility, and smooth functioning in the league of the best healthcare protocols followed by global pioneers. Yellow.ai is a solutions provider that has worked with such names to help them bring a better experience to their audience with stellar multi-channel messaging and healthcare bot integrations. To know more or schedule a live demo, contact us today.