Generative AI is paving the way for unprecedented changes in the delivery of care. And while this may sound futuristic, it’s happening now. Already, 72% of healthcare organizations have adopted or are in the process of adopting AI technologies, and those that do can expect to enhance patient experiences, improve efficiency, and lead to better outcomes.
Several cases for Generative AI uses in healthcare have already emerged, among those being advanced medical imaging capabilities, improving clinical trial processes, and now automating processes through conversational AI technology.
Conversational AI combines generative AI with natural language understanding (NLU) and automation. This technology is not only advanced enough to handle sophisticated natural language interactions with humans, but it can also reduce delays caused by operational inefficiency, elevate patient experience, and save countless hours of admin work.
This is increasingly significant when considering the widening skills gap in healthcare. In the UK, according to the Health Foundation, The King’s Fund, and Nuffield Trust, the shortage of NHS staff in England is now a greater threat to health services than funding challenges. The American healthcare space is facing similar issues. Within many states, the projected supply of healthcare workers will be unable to fill demand, according to Mercer’s recent U.S. healthcare labor market analysis.
As the population ages and the skills gap widens, we will only continue to see pressures mount on an already stretched healthcare sector. Generative AI automation technologies present an opportunity for healthcare organizations to do more with less.
From patients scheduling their appointments to inquiring about clinic locations, automation tools can reduce administrative tasks by allowing patients to take care into their own hands through an AI chatbot or digital assistant. This then releases time back to healthcare administration staff to provide care to patients.
In addition to being beneficial to healthcare organizations, AI-powered digital assistants can also bridge the gap between in-person visits, resulting in more comprehensive and continuous care for patients.
All in all, the possibilities of conversational AI in healthcare are vast. In this blog, we explore the ways the industry is about to change for the better, thanks to generative AI healthcare automation.
Ways Generative AI Automation is Transforming Healthcare
Improving Patient Engagement
One of the key areas where generative and conversational AI will make a significant difference is patient engagement. Generative AI chatbots and digital assistants are being implemented to allow smooth interactions with patients, providing them with information about their health conditions, medications, and treatment plans. After all, effective communication is at the heart of quality healthcare.
These conversational interfaces offer a user-friendly and accessible way for patients to seek advice, schedule appointments, and receive post-treatment guidance without needing human assistance. By promoting active patient engagement, healthcare providers can empower individuals to take control of their health, resulting in better outcomes and increased overall satisfaction.
Many patients who call their healthcare provider or hospital to book an appointment end up waiting on hold for long periods of time or never actually get connected at all. This then results in patients hanging up the phone and canceling their intended reason for calling. Not only is this a health hazard for patients who need care, but this isolates patients, leaving them feeling helpless in a time of need.
By introducing a conversational AI chatbot, the days of patients feeling lost, confused, and alone become a thing of the past as assistance can just be a message away.
Increased Operational Efficiency
An average digital assistant can save an organization over 50% of support costs. In healthcare, this is essential, as admin is often costly, slow, and inefficient.
Conversational AI has been proven to streamline administrative processes in healthcare, particularly in appointment scheduling and reminders. This is particularly useful as we face an increasing backlog of appointments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the flip side, missed appointments result in significant challenges and risks for both patients and healthcare providers. These can include decreasing accessibility for other patients to care, delays in diagnosing conditions, and risk of complications and morbidity/mortality, but also contribute to impaired operational efficiency for providers.
Virtual assistants can efficiently handle appointment bookings, cancellations, and rescheduling, reducing the burden on staff and eliminating scheduling errors.
Automated reminders sent via text or voice messages help patients stay on track with their healthcare commitments, leading to improved adherence to treatment plans and a decrease in missed appointments.
Reduced Administrative Burden
One of the main roadblocks to providing patient support in healthcare is patients knowing who to speak to, or what their issue is. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen an even bigger push for remote healthcare services, this is where Conversational AI can make this possible.
As we know health concerns don’t follow a 9-5 schedule, but neither does conversational AI. On-demand support is becoming the ‘norm’ thanks to advancing technologies like digital assistants. Implementing this technology into healthcare can reduce the burden on administration teams.
AI-powered chatbots equipped with advanced natural language processing capabilities can engage in detailed conversations with patients, gathering information about symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle factors.
This data can then be analyzed to provide preliminary assessments or suggestions, aiding healthcare professionals in the diagnostic process. While not a replacement for medical expertise, this technology serves as a valuable tool in the early stages of identifying potential health issues.
Not only does this provide patients with 24/7 support for health concerns, but it also relieves the pressure from already stretched health services such as emergency care and General Practice.
Personalizing Health Education
AI chatbots and digital assistants can provide tailored information about specific medical conditions, preventive measures, and lifestyle modifications based on an individual’s health profile and goals. In addition, these digital assistants can be on hand to answer patient queries and explain treatment plans, taking the burden off busy health professionals.
This not only empowers patients with ongoing knowledge but also encourages them to adopt healthier habits and take control of their health. By promoting health literacy, conversational AI contributes to disease prevention and long-term well-being.
Support Data Management and Analysis
The healthcare industry generates an unprecedented amount of data on a daily basis, and managing this information is a complex task. Conversational AI tools assist in organizing and analyzing this healthcare data, making it easier for professionals to extract valuable insights.
Natural language processing algorithms can sift through electronic health records, research articles, and clinical notes to identify patterns, trends, and potential areas for improvement. This data-driven approach enhances decision-making processes and contributes to the overall efficiency of healthcare systems.
Everybody should be able to access care when they need it, without the burden of language or accessibility barriers. Using natural language processing (NLP), conversational AI-powered chatbots and digital assistants facilitate user-friendly interactions in any language patients require. Not only does this remove barriers to care but also improves and promotes inclusivity.
These personalized and inclusive interactions can also make care more accessible for patients with disabilities. For example, patients who have impaired hearing have the option to use a text-based digital assistant as an alternative to contacting their healthcare facility by phone. .
Why should you use conversational AI?
As this technology continues to advance, the healthcare industry must embrace these innovations to meet the changing needs of patients and health professionals.
The OpenDialog Digital Concierge solution is a revolutionary approach to placing healthcare organizations on the path of generative AI-powered transformation, whilst delivering immediate value. Built from the ground up for regulated environments, OpenDialog’s enterprise-grade platform empowers organizations within the healthcare industry to harness cutting-edge generative AI securely.
OpenDialog enables you to reimagine the way you deliver outstanding caller experiences, while reducing operating expenses and optimizing operational efficiency.
Not sure where to start with Generative AI automation?
OpenDialog will help guide your digital transformation journey, providing the data, knowledge, skills, and tools to automate up to 90% of all interactions across your whole organization via a single platform, purpose-built for companies that operate within the healthcare industry.
Want to learn more about using generative AI in healthcare? Read the top 10 use cases here.