Role of Conversational AI in the Health and Pharma Industry, Health News, ET HealthWorld

By Gaurav Singh

Technology has evolved at breakneck speed and transformed the way consumers interact with brands. Artificial intelligence is actively used to streamline processes. In addition to chat, conversational AI and AI-powered voice-enabled chatbots are emerging as alternative support systems that can simplify the complexities of human speech.

Artificial intelligence (AI) techniques that allow machines to learn with minimal human supervision have emerged due to the exponential increase in computing power and data storage. Conversational AI (artificial intelligence) refers to systems capable of “communicating” with humans, such as virtual assistants and chatbots (e.g. answering questions). The operation of conversational AI tools is made possible by machine learning, automated responses and natural language processing. Other advances in chatbots capable of automating and engaging human-like interactions with a user have emerged in recent years. Several companies including banking, retail, marketing and others have implemented these conversational AI systems.

Artificial intelligence in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries has been widely studied and has great potential for disruption. The digital health market India was worth INR 116.61 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach INR 485.43 billion by 2024, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.41% from 2019 to 2024.

These statistics may seem a little modest since the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this transition. COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way individuals view health care and how

establishments plan to issue it. The pandemic exposed the shortcomings of health systems around the world and there was a massive shortage of doctors, nurses and other support staff. Research shows that one-sixth of the average working hours of doctors are spent on administrative work. Technology, especially Conversation AI, can help bridge this gap by taking those tasks away from them and allowing them to focus their time and energy on more important responsibilities. It also helps people access the facilities they need when they need them.

Here are some use cases for conversational AI in healthcare

1) Make an appointment with the doctor

With the help of chatbots or voice robots, patients can get the necessary details and even book an appointment with their preferred doctor. Some hospitals have now let patients pick their preferred time slot and even sync it with their and their doctor’s schedule.

2) Respond to FAQs

Medical questions are mostly urgent and people are looking for an immediate answer. A chatbot can quickly assess a patient’s concern and provide an answer. Previously, hospitals and healthcare professionals had a page on the website for these FAQs. However, getting to the right section was nerve-wracking, especially in an emergency. The chatbot simplifies this process and also saves time.

3) Patient data and follow-up records

Chatbots can also be useful for healthcare professionals. They can help retrieve all patient records, lab results and history in seconds. The doctor can then consult the complete medical file and consult the patient accordingly.

It can also help the administration to track patient load and allocate resources accordingly.

4) Patient care after treatment

Most of the patients become anxious even after consulting the doctor. Keeping in touch with them and keeping an eye on their health is crucial. The conversational AI bot can play a vital role here by regularly monitoring the patient’s health status and informing the healthcare professional. If symptoms persist, this can also trigger an alert and involve professionals. The overall recovery journey of each patient can be tracked efficiently through chatbots.

Conversational AI systems have come a long way from the days when they were just monotonous robots. Today’s advanced systems are imbued with intriguing personalities and

sound more and more human. There are even therapeutic robots whose goal is emotional care and compassion rather than task automation. However, these are still quite basic, primarily designed for children and unable to carry on extended conversations. In the future, as AI systems become more adept at automating repetitive tasks with greater precision, the next frontier will be improving the humanity of these bots.

By Gaurav Singh, CEO,

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely those of the author and ETHealthworld does not necessarily endorse them. shall not be liable for any damage caused to any person/organization directly or indirectly)


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