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April 14, 2017
Chatbots are not a new concept, but they are a new evolution in healthcare. You have probably encountered the chatbox, you sign into a website and one of the options is to talk to a live agent. Essentially, the two of you are able to have a deep conversation through texting, but one advantage is the agent can add documents or pictures that you can read immediately. This is similar to what the chatbot does, except there is no live person on the other end.
Some consider this upcoming technology a form of AI, but it is just a series of answers waiting for your questions. It is not much different than Apple’s Siri.
UCLA is developing a specifically designed chatbot to help clinicians contact interventional radiologists with routine questions. The clinician tries to answer all of the patient’s questions, but there are some things that are beyond the scope of the clinician. In this case, they need to contact the radiologist for more information. The chatbot is designed to act as a mediator between the clinician and the radiologist.
The chatbot has over 2,000 data points programmed into it to answer the most common questions asked of interventional radiologists.
The AI part comes in two ways:
1) it is designed to interpret the questions and answer them in a conversational tone, regardless of how the question is asked. In other words, the chatbot does not rely on a word-for-word question, but instead dissects the sentence and makes the most logical sense out of it.
2) The chatbot will learn as it goes. As new questions are addressed, the chatbot will learn the right answers so it can be correct the next time the question is asked. If a question is asked that the chatbot does not understand or the question is outside the scope of the chatbot’s purview, then contact information to a live person is given to the clinician.
The chatbot and human interaction is intended to be conversational and informative. Answers are not necessarily just words displayed on a screen. Pictures, documents, websites and movie clips are all possibilities.
This interaction within healthcare is just the beginning. According to Endovascular Today, “As the application continues to improve, investigators aim to expand the work to assist general physicians in interfacing with other specialists, such as cardiologists and neurosurgeons. Implementing this tool across the health care spectrum has great potential in the quest to deliver the highest-quality patient care.”
This path of an automated virtual assistant is meant to provide a better experience for the patient. It will allow the patient to get answers immediately, instead of setting up an appointment to see another doctor. This also allows the clinician to free up specialists. This method will help patients get the answers to their questions before they walk out the door, and it helps to save time and resources of the healthcare facility. Request a free assessment to see how a managed service provider can help your healthcare organization with chatbots.
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