AI Powered Chatbots In Healthcare: Use Cases, Pros And Cons
Updated on Aug, 01 2023
Written by Dr. George Laliotis
AI is transforming the world. With the creation of ChatGPT and other such chatbots, it’s interesting to see the impact of AI on healthcare as a whole. But trusting ChatGPT with a medical diagnosis would be dangerous.
Luckily, there are many chatbots in healthcare that do the job better.
Are there AI-powered chatbots in healthcare that can be as reliable as a med-school-trained doctor? How can an individual get a timely consultation from a chatbot that will not misdiagnose them?
- Due to the controversial nature of chatbots in healthcare, we are here to bust the myths surrounding medical AI chatbots.
We’ll tell you about the top chatbots in medicine today, along with their pros and cons. On top of all that, we’ll discuss the use cases that these chatbots can have. As a bonus, we’ll also cover the ambiguous future of AI-powered medical chatbots.
Without further ado, let’s dive right in.
- AI-powered chatbots are changing how healthcare is delivered, but they won’t be replacing doctors anytime soon.
- Chatbots in healthcare have a plethora of benefits, including 24/7 availability, saving time and money for healthcare providers, and providing mental health support in a time of need.
- Use cases of AI-powered medical chatbots vary from diagnosis to appointment scheduling.
- One of the biggest challenges facing AI healthcare chatbots today is ensuring the level of response accuracy.
- The healthcare chatbot market is worth around $211 million, and it’s growing with a CAGR of 15%.
The Role of AI Powered Chatbots in Healthcare
Chatbots in healthcare are relatively new, just like other AI-powered chatbots like ChatGPT. But what is the role of these healthcare chatbots in today’s landscape of patient care? What gap are they filling in the market?
Ultimately, medical chatbots are tackling 3 main issues.
Firstly, when a patient is seeking access to renowned doctors, AI can come in to save the day.
Second, they eliminate geographic barriers, bringing access to expert medical advice to anyone that has access to the internet globally.
Lastly, they are available 24/7 which means patients will not have any issues with delays in obtaining expert advice. No more waiting rooms, no more late-night questions left unanswered.
Artificial Intelligence Healthcare Chatbot Systems are able to answer FAQs, provide second opinions on diagnosis, and help out in appointment scheduling. This is a win-win situation for both patients and healthcare providers.
If you’re interested in learning about all the benefits of healthcare chatbots, keep on reading through to the next section.
Benefits of Healthcare Chatbots
With all the disadvantages of chatbots in healthcare, it’s crucial to look at the good side as well. What are the benefits of using an AI chatbot for healthcare? Let us tell you about the 3 main benefits you should take note of.
- 24/7 support: Unlike your family doctor, chatbots are available to you around the clock. This means that if you have a medical emergency at 4 AM, they can come to your rescue.
- Saves time and money: In terms of eliminating the need for healthcare staff to complete routine tasks, healthcare chatbots are able to benefit healthcare providers by saving them time and money.
- Personalized approach: If you feed your healthcare data to an AI chatbot, it can analyze your info and provide recommendations that will be tailored to your predisposition and needs. While doctors can do this as well, healthcare AI chatbots are able to analyze everything in a matter of seconds and won’t forget something due to having too many patients. Ultimately, this personalized assistance promotes better adherence to treatment plans.
Now that you know about the main benefits of chatbots in healthcare, let us tell you about a couple of the best chatbots that exist today.
4 Top AI Powered Chatbots in Healthcare
We’ve covered most of the theoretical ins and outs of medical chatbots. So, it’s now time to put it to practice and show you the 4 top AI-powered chatbots in healthcare you can see today.
The best healthcare chatbots available today have different missions, and consequently, different pros and cons. If you’re interested in learning about an alternative source of medical advice or simply want to learn about the top health chatbots that exist today, let us show you the way.
- Scored 86.5% on the MedQA medical exam.
- Powered by Google Research and Google’s large language models (LLMs).
- Can analyze medical imaging data in the future.
- It is only available to a limited number of Google Cloud customers.
- It is still under development and testing.
- Not 100% accurate. Requires human oversight.
About the company:
One of the first healthcare chatbot companies we wanted to talk about is Google’s Med-PaLM 2. As a state-of-the-art healthcare chatbot, this technology is the predecessor to Med-PaLM, which only scored 67.5% on the US medical exam.
This AI-powered chatbot is certainly growing under the supervision of Google’s Research team. When testing is complete and this product hits the market, it will be an amazing alternative medical advice tool.
- Provides diagnosis validation from top doctors in the US and Europe.
- Hosts 300+ top doctors who will validate the chatbot’s recommendations.
- Less probability of misdiagnosis thanks to doctor validation.
- No need to provide personally identifiable data.
- Ability to generate a comprehensive health report.
- Cannot guarantee 100% accuracy.
- It is not designed for medical emergencies.
- You can only send up to 7 messages/day to the chatbot with the free version.
About the company:
Next up, we have one of the best examples of chatbots in healthcare - Docus.ai. It is trained on a large dataset and provides a list of possible diagnoses for your healthcare needs. It also provides the other side of the coin, which is human oversight. How so?
Docus.ai hosts a base of 300+ top doctors from 15+ countries who are ready to give you a consultation and validate your diagnosis in a timely manner.
The chatbot is available 24/7 and features a free version. With it, you’re able to send up to 7 messages to the Docus chatbot and even request an AI-powered second opinion with DDx, Tx, and more.
It costs $14.99/month for the Pro version, which provides unlimited conversations with chatbots, personalized health reports, and grants you early access to new features.
If you’re looking to get a personalized consultation and diagnosis validation from a doctor, it will cost $99 for each consultation.
- Scored 81% on the MRCGP exam where GPs score an average of 72%.
- Comprehensive app for online patient care.
- Analyzes symptoms and identifies potential causes.
- Provides recommendations for next steps.
- Limited information about the chatbot is available online.
- The company suggests that the chatbot could replace doctors, which is a dangerous narrative.
- Has faced criticism for the dissemination of potentially misleading information.
- It is only available on the app.
About the company:
Babylon Health is an all-in-one digital healthcare app. It features many tools, such as online doctor consultations, appointment settings, and, most importantly, a symptom checker.
On paper, the company is claiming that it provides a greater level of accuracy in its recommendations, but government bodies are worried about the narrative they are perpetuating.
In any case, this AI-powered chatbot is able to analyze symptoms, find potential causes for them, and follow up with the next steps. While the app is overall highly popular, the symptom checker is only a small part of their focus, leaving room for some concern.
- It's free to use.
- Trained on 1000s of research paper data points.
- Easy to use with just 3 steps.
- Features a user-friendly interface.
- Proactive in terms of the next steps for treatment.
- No human oversight. This could pose a danger of misdiagnosis.
- Not 100% accurate (just like other healthcare chatbots).
About the company:
Buoy has a very heartwarming story regarding how it all started. They are trying to improve the front door of healthcare. In other words, they’re trying to fix the first step people take when they start feeling bad.
While most people would use Google and probably misdiagnose themselves, Buoy has come up with a solution. They built one of the most highly intuitive AI-powered chatbots in healthcare, which could come up with possible diagnoses for a patient’s symptoms by asking around 20 questions.
With each answer you give the chatbot, it eliminates a couple of diagnosis options until it finally lands on the most likely ones. Afterward, the chatbot helps you decide on the next steps and choose the best follow-up variant that suits you the best, both in terms of money and convenience.
Here you have it folks - the 4 top AI-powered chatbots in healthcare today.
While most of them revolve around generating a quick diagnosis and helping you decide on the next steps, there are still other use cases for medical chatbots. So, without further ado, let’s talk about them
AI Powered Chatbot Use Cases in Healthcare
We’ve already discussed the role of top health chatbots, but what are their use cases? Well, you can find anything from a chatbot for medical diagnosis to chatbots for mental health support.
What else can chatbots in healthcare do? Let’s dive a little deeper and talk about a couple of the top chatbot use cases in healthcare.
1. Medical Diagnosis And Symptom Assessment
AI-powered chatbots in healthcare are able to provide an initial symptom assessment when provided with answers to relevant questions. This simply streamlines the process of patient care by moving things along and directing patients to the relevant specialists in a quicker way.
Chatbots like Docus.ai can even validate these diagnoses with top healthcare professionals from the US and Europe.
2. Scheduling Appointments
Another top use of chatbots in healthcare is in the sphere of appointment scheduling. This way, you don’t need to call your healthcare provider to get an appointment anymore.
AI-powered chatbots in healthcare can handle all your appointment bookings, cancellations, and rescheduling needs. Ultimately, this reduces wait times and improves convenience in patient care.
3. Mental Health Support
The third use case for medical chatbots is mental health support. In a world where an anxiety attack can happen at any time, you can rest easy knowing that you have AI-powered chatbots in healthcare to rely on.
They are trained to have empathetic conversations with patients, so when you’re experiencing a mental health issue, they’re there to provide mental support, and necessary resources, and teach you coping methods to help you deal with almost any situation.
4. Medication Reminders
Last but not least, the 4th top use case for AI healthcare chatbots is medication reminders. These automated chatbot medical assistants can send you timely reminders for many things, including medication schedules, instructions for dosages, and potential interactions between drugs you’re taking.
Now that you know more about chatbot healthcare use cases, let’s move on and talk a bit about what the future holds.
The Future of AI Powered Chatbots in Healthcare
The potential of healthcare chatbots is unimaginable. But don’t worry, they won’t be replacing doctors anytime soon. So what does the future of chatbots in healthcare look like?
Currently, and for the foreseeable future, these chatbots are meant to assist healthcare providers - not replace them altogether. At the end of the day, human oversight is required to minimize the risk of inaccurate diagnoses and more.
There are advancements in natural language understanding, emotional intelligence, and the integration of chatbots with wearable devices and telemedicine platforms. This means that the capabilities of AI-powered chatbots in healthcare will continue to grow.
The healthcare chatbot's market size was valued at around $211 million as of 2022. With a CAGR of 15% over the upcoming couple of years, the healthcare chatbot market growth is astonishing.
Nevertheless, everything good can have a bad side as well. For healthcare chatbots, this comes in the form of ethical issues, data privacy, and the requirement for human oversight.
Chatbot technology in healthcare is undergoing advancements on a daily basis, and we’re excited to see the importance of chatbots in healthcare changes as we develop new technologies.
How are chatbots beneficial in healthcare?
AI-powered chatbots in healthcare have a plethora of benefits for both patients and healthcare providers. Top health chatbots can enhance patient engagement, provide personalized approaches and recommendations, save time and resources for doctors, and improve the overall healthcare experience for everyone involved.
On top of all that, they are available 24/7 to anyone with an internet connection.
Which algorithm is used for healthcare chatbot?
Usually, chatbots in healthcare use natural language processing (NLP) algorithms or large language models (LLM) and ML techniques to understand user queries and generate relevant responses.
Different types of chatbots in healthcare require different advantages, and the strengths of these algorithms are dependent on the training data they are provided.
What is the biggest problem with chatbots?
With all the benefits of AI-powered chatbots in healthcare, there are bound to be some downfalls. The biggest disadvantage of chatbots in healthcare are the potential biases in their responses. Although there is no human error here, there can still be discrepancies that lead to misdiagnoses.
Since medical chatbots learn from the training data they were given, the projections of this data can lead to inequalities and inaccuracies. Therefore, the biggest challenge that healthcare chatbot developers face is ensuring the accuracy of responses.
AI-powered chatbots in healthcare are changing the game. From Docus.ai to MedPaLM 2, these chatbots improve almost every aspect of patient care. They streamline workflows for healthcare staff, engage patients in their own health, and give 24/7 assistance to virtually anyone in the world.
Use cases for healthcare chatbots vary from diagnosis and mental health support to more routine tasks like scheduling and medication reminders.
While there are some challenges left to be addressed, we’re more than excited to see how the future of chatbots in healthcare unfolds.
Chatbots will not replace doctors in medicine anytime soon, but they will likely become indispensable tools in patient care as AI continues to undergo major breakthroughs.
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