Although there are numerous sectors in which Artificial Intelligence has significant influence, the health industry is currently the one in which the greatest change is occurring, especially due to the impact that this technology is already having and increasingly will have, not only on the work of clinicians but also on patient health.
The enormous potential of AI and Conversational Interfaces in Healthcare was probably already sensed a few decades ago, when in 1966 ELIZA was developed, the first virtual psychotherapist and by far the first Virtual Assistant created.
The doctor-patient gap
Despite this, for many years the doctor-patient relationship has remained unchanged and with time, a gap between these two figures has been created: the clinician, very often due to his high number of patients, cannot answer their many questions.
The result is that after the consultation, the moment of contact with an expert ends, often leaving the patients in a further state of stress and anxiety that pushes them to find answers and solutions to their problems through other often untrustworthy channels.
Think of new parents who are struggling for the first time with a new-born baby: it is normal that, to feel reassured, they need to ask their paediatrician lots of questions, which are often common to other new parents and which the doctor is constantly having to answer, with a considerable waste of time.
The advantages of conversational Healthcare
Why not rely on a Virtual Assistant that can support patients, offering timely accurate answers, and at the same time is able to report back to the doctor with the questions it couldn’t answer? On the one hand, the clinician would be relieved of a routine and time-consuming task, and on the other hand, patients would be given an instrument that would reduce their stress level and find reliable answers to easily manageable problems.
A Chatbot can in fact guide people to understand and evaluate symptoms, identifying the best care and receiving immediate assistance, without the need to immediately resort to a human doctor.
The decision-makers working in the health sector have certainly sensed these numerous advantages and that is why we are talking more and more about a conversational Healthcare.
The increasingly widespread adoption of Chatbot in this field will only lead to further advantages: thanks to the increasing interaction between patients and bots, the latter will be able over time to improve answers and use an increasingly natural language.
The strength of Conversational Healthcare
The strength of these Virtual Assistants is precisely the fact that they are based on conversation. Thanks to this factor, they are more engaging, and therefore more used, compared to classic applications.
The fast evolution that Conversational Interfaces are experiencing means that soon they will also be able to detect the mood and emotions that the user is experiencing, fundamental if it is a patient in care and so important to understand if the experience is frustrating, for example because of failure to get the desired answers.
For all the above-mentioned reasons, it is to be expected that soon the Healthcare revolution towards a conversational model will become reality and that, once the initial introductory phase is over, it will reach a point where a new doctor-patient model will be established that will remain until the advent of a further technological revolution.
Finally, this solution moves within the other objectives of Digital Health: ensuring easy access to treatment to an ever-increasing number of people and at the same time ensuring increasingly personalized medical therapy.
Sources: ChatbotMagazine, 123RF