So, let me start by illustrating the picture. The health care industry is facing several challenges on a global scale related to increased cost, altered demographics, shortages of human resources, and access to hospitals in terms of distribution and size. Additionally, the increasing demand for hospitals adds its value to the extensive list of issues.
But perhaps even more intriguing, customer expectation of quality is changing, indicating the patient wishes to engage in the treating process and demands transparency in the matter. The part whence the customer requires transparency, in particular, will play a significant role in the transition of a supply-driven consumer model to a demand-driven one. Because that’s the case at the moment, as the quality of service, transparency, and access of information become essential aspects of the patient’s customer journey, hospitals require to truly exercise the phrase: “the patient at the heart of care.”
With the current resources, improving the quality of the customer journey while treating a growing number of patients seems to counteract one another. Thus, becoming customer-driven, whereas demand increases, requires a transformation in organizational structure and applied technologies. The latter focuses on the development of artificial intelligence (AI) put into practice in the early stages of customer engagement with healthcare organizations. The increasingly popularized chatbots have already been implemented across a multitude of industries, handling all sorts of inquiries from customers as the chatbot recognizes and identifies specific requests and is able to accurately respond or even perform a task. Now, the chatbot is making its way to a more or less sensitive landscape.
Issues related to a person’s health have evermore been perceived as a discussion to take place in a safe, reliable environment. A diagnosis performed under face-to-face circumstances has been the norm for decades but seems to slowly start disappearing, considering the already chatbot, in the form of a cloud service, has content knowledge of conditions, medications, procedures, and even a symptom checker. So, now more customers expect to handle a greater portion of the process for themselves by looking up symptoms, taking medication, or arranging payments, a chatbot seems like a fair solution for the recent development in regularities. Therefore, a chatbot is nothing more than an adaptation to current wants and desires of customers in the market.
There are, however, downsides to equipping the customer with more power but also more responsibility as we cannot confuse virtual assistants with medical professionals. The main rationale for the existence of the chatbot in this industry is to ease the burden of staff or personnel and improve time management. You could consider it a short-term solution, tackling the issues of providing less accessible information and shortages of personnel. On that account, the chatbot has deemed a solution for both parties, consumer and performer, accordingly, responding to market desires while resolving operational pain points.
But another sensitive matter makes global implementation of this solvent hard to realize any time soon. Ensuring the inclusion of built-in privacy controls is a crucial segment which needs addressing, as data regulations heavily increased since last year due to the recent media outbreak of privacy violations by several big corporations.
So, the advent of the chatbot brought a set of solutions, but at the cost of traditional norms and a shift of the responsibility bar. You could imagine two sides contemplating the subject. At one side, the group realizes change is inevitable, whether it’s the chatbot or another technological advancement as a solvent which brings a certain balance to the scale. The other side means to say the traditional values of proper treatment are fading away to make place for a larger group of consumers. Isn’t that the case in most societal developments though?