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Conversational AI in Healthcare: Use Cases And Its Potentials

Jun 21, 2023

Virtual assistants are nothing new. Many people use them in their day-to-day lives on their smartphones to play music, book appointments, and set reminders. We talk to them when we call support centers, hotlines, and businesses. While most of these robots mostly relay simple information, it shouldn’t surprise you that some AI is already smart enough to give you a nonprofessional medical diagnosis.

Conversational AI has emerged as a powerful tool, revolutionizing the way healthcare providers interact with patients. In this blog article, we will explore the concept of Conversational AI in healthcare, its applications in the medical sector, and how it is one of the driving factors in paving the future of patient care.

 

Highlights

Conversational AI in healthcare is trained by medical professionals and checks current medical literature to come up with answers to your questions and concerns.

  •  In the healthcare industry, Conversational AI is being utilized to create Virtual Health Assistants, providing patients with personalized and timely support.
  • Conversational AI differs from traditional chatbots due to its ability to understand context and natural language and employ machine learning for continuous improvement.
  • The future of conversational AI in Healthcare is dependent on how comfortable the public and healthcare professionals are with adapting it into their practice. 

 

conversational ai in healthcare

What is Conversational AI?

Remember when we had to learn how to use search engines and write in a way for robots to understand us? Times have changed and machines are learning to adapt to humans instead of the other way around.

Conversational AI has learned to understand human language and respond to us in a way that we speak. The technology is making significant strides in various sectors, with healthcare being at the forefront of its adoption.

What a Conversational AI is Not

While conversational AI is trained in modern medical literature, it is most certainly not a medical professional. Everything should be taken with a grain of salt and medical advice should be given by medical professionals only.

Computers can always make mistakes and are not to be held accountable for their actions, so always trust a medical professional when it comes to medical advice. Remember that conversational AI is a tool, not a replacement for your doctor.

Conversational AI in Healthcare

Conversational AI in Healthcare, also known as Virtual Health Assistants, has become a game-changer in the healthcare industry, helping people get a more understandable response from programs, instead of having to look for answers in academic writing.

These intelligent digital assistants can schedule appointments, answer medical queries, provide medication reminders, and even monitor chronic conditions remotely. Conversational AI in healthcare offers convenience and accessibility, allowing patients anywhere in the world to access vital health information and assistance around the clock, without the need to have direct contact with a medical professional.

Conversational AIs like Docus.ai are already consumer-ready applications that allow users to chat with a Conversational AI in Healthcare, answer a few follow-up questions about their health, and be able to connect with a professional doctor from the US or Western Europe that will be immediately onboarded from the AI and be ready to provide a full consultation.

Conversational AI vs. Chatbot in Healthcare

While both Conversational AI and traditional chatbots operate through text or speech-based interactions, there are notable differences between the two. Traditional chatbots rely on rule-based systems and predefined responses, limiting their ability to understand complex queries and provide personalized assistance. On the other hand, Conversational AI utilizes machine learning algorithms, enabling it to learn from data, adapt to user behavior, and deliver more contextual and human-like interactions.

You find chatbots when on websites that have commonly asked questions and predetermined answers that everything is funneled through, while Conversational AI has a much larger capacity to understand what you are saying and will work hard to find you an answer.

While research on Conversational AI is still new, according to a published systematic review by Canadian researchers, chatbots have the potential to be integrated into clinical practice by working alongside health practitioners to reduce costs, refine workflow efficiencies, and improve patient outcomes.

 

conversational ai vs chatbot

5 Conversational AI Use Cases in Healthcare

1. Personalized Patient Support

 

Conversational AI has ushered in a new era of personalized patient support in the healthcare industry, primarily through the development and deployment of Virtual Health Assistants (VHAs). These intelligent digital companions have a remarkable ability to gather and analyze vast amounts of patient data, including medical history, preferences, and health goals. By assimilating this information, VHAs utilize the best of conversational AI in healthcare to offer tailored recommendations and guidance to each individual, creating a sense of individualized care and empathy. 

Conversational AI in healthcare goes beyond simple question-and-answer interactions; it actively asks follow-up questions to better understand the patient. VHAs can act as health coaches, guiding patients through their wellness journeys and providing valuable health education resources. By presenting patients with relevant information about their conditions, treatment plans, and lifestyle modifications, VHAs encourage informed decision-making and promote proactive self-management.

 

2. Anonymous Health Advice

 

It happens to the best of us, we are not ready to discuss a personal health issue with a medical professional. While doctors are sworn to protect personal patient information, it is still difficult for some patients to open up to medical professionals, especially ones they have seen for years. A conversational AI for healthcare can offer better advice than just trying to use search engines to come up with an answer. 

If you would like to learn more about the ethics and security of information in Conversational AIs in healthcare, check out the Ethical Issues of Ai in Healthcare.

 

3. Remote Patient Monitoring

 

Conversational AI facilitates real-time monitoring of patient's health conditions, alerting healthcare professionals in case of any concerning changes. They are emerging as a game-changer in Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) within the healthcare sector. With the advent of Virtual Health Assistants (VHAs), healthcare providers can now remotely monitor patients' health conditions in real-time, promoting timely interventions and personalized care. Through seamless integration with Internet of Things (IoT) devices, VHAs can collect and analyze vital signs, health metrics, and other relevant data from patients' homes or wearable devices.

In fact, a recent cost-utility analysis published in the Journal of the American Medicine Association highlighted promising research suggesting that RPM could be associated with 87% fewer hospitalizations, 77% fewer deaths, and reduced per-patient costs of $11,472 compared to standard care.

Conversational AI in healthcare can now interact with the patient immediately in a more humane way when they sense that something is off if a human medical professional is not available at the moment. By freeing up more time for medical professionals by automating work, it creates time for providers to focus more on their relationship with the patient. 

 

4. Medication Adherence

 

Conversational AI in healthcare can send medication reminders and educational materials and address concerns about prescribed medications, promoting adherence and patient safety in a more humane manner. While we are used to seeing notifications, it can be a lot more helpful if a conversational AI that recognizes a patient can communicate with them in a way that would get them to consume their medication in a timely manner. This is especially helpful for the elderly who live alone, those with mental health issues that need special types of communication, and those who need to ask questions right away. 

 

5. Medical Professional Support

 

Patients are not the only ones who will benefit from conversational AI in Healthcare, medical professionals can also save so much time and energy! Virtual Health Assistants like docus.ai are already getting basic information about issues from patients through conversation and helping onboard a medical professional before a consultation. This saves doctors time in learning about their patients and conversational AI is already trained in what follow-up questions a medical healthcare professional would already ask. 

 

Integrating Conversational AI into the Healthcare Field

Integrating new technologies is not as easy as the public thinks, especially in a field as important as healthcare. Like many other technologies, experts need years to be properly trained on using technology and the education system needs to have training integrated into its curriculum, according to a recent article published in the British Dental Journal. We see conversational AI in many different fields already being implemented, but given the grave consequences of misinformation in healthcare, it is vital that everything is fine-tuned and tested before reaching the public. 

As important as it is for medical professionals to adapt conversational AI into the healthcare field, it is also important for patients to be open to new kinds of interactions. One of the biggest benefits of conversational AI is that it adapts to each unique user and makes some types of medical diagnosis, treatment, and consultation much more accessible.

While most patients do not even know what is going on behind the scenes of new technological breakthroughs in the medical field, they will very likely notice that they are interacting with chatbots much more often. It is important to make the transition from automated messaging bots to conversational AI in healthcare as seamless as possible. 

 

conversational ai use cases

The Future of Conversational AI in Healthcare

The potential for Conversational AI in healthcare is vast and promising. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect even more advanced virtual health assistants to be capable of interpreting medical images, directly assisting healthcare specialists in administrative tasks, and quickly finding solutions that would require doctors to go through large amounts of data.

With the integration of Internet of Things (IoT) devices with Conversational AI, we can expect more comprehensive remote patient monitoring and improved data accuracy.

Want to learn more about the future of Conversational AI in Healthcare, check out the Future of AI in Healthcare to learn more about how AI advancements are already helping patients and what doors they will open up in the future.

Conclusion

Conversational AI is transforming the healthcare landscape, revolutionizing patient interactions and providing valuable support to healthcare providers. Through Virtual Health Assistants, patients can access personalized, timely, and convenient care, leading to better health outcomes and enhanced patient experience. As technology continues to advance, the future of Conversational AI in healthcare holds great promise in reshaping the way we approach patient care and well-being.

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