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What will be the state of the healthcare industry post pandemic?

4 minutes, 9 seconds read

The COVID-19 has proven to be havoc in this tech-savvy world. The community of Healthcare and Development has become the epicentre of the World’s attention for the motives of fighting against the disease; providing social services in this pandemic situation and promoting humanity and livelihood above all. 

However, on the flip side of the coin, we are witnessing challenges like never before. With the outbreak of this catastrophic pandemic, medical accessibility and safety have become our primary concern, bringing about a paradigm change in the state of the healthcare industry throughout the world.

As goes the old adage, “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”; the healthcare sector, post COVID-19 pandemic; is about to undergo metamorphosis with a plethora of new ideas. Getting accustomed to the lockdown phase, people are more and more acquainted with the use of technology. From 8 to 80 almost everyone has resorted to the digital platform and shall continue to retain the habit post-pandemic. Like other brick and mortar bodies, a huge part of healthcare shall have to move online, too.

AI-powered customer support

The idea of telecommunication in the field of healthcare will see a sudden spike in usage. The number of telehealth consults has risen exponentially during this pandemic and it will multiply manifolds post COVID-19. During this outbreak, with an increase in queries and lack of live agents, AI-powered customer support can be used as the first line of communication. Unlike old IVR’s, AI-enabled customer support shall understand the patient’s needs and converse with them as a live agent. 

Vozy’s Lili, is a conversational AI platform for healthcare organizations that alleviates pressure caused due to high call volume. Apart from providing customer assistance, it maintains a complete patient flow and helps monitor the health conditions post-treatment.

AI in customer support

Healthcare professionals are also opting for chatbots for checking symptoms to access symptoms, understand the conditions and accordingly suggest remedies or schedule appointments. 

Automation for contactless patient management

While we pull up our socks for a strategic battle, we can promote our major workforce and healthcare by optimizing and digitizing it, sans promoting widespread of this contagious phenomenon.

Data management of patient’s documents not only consumes a lot of bandwidth of medical staff but might also increase the phobia of the spread of coronavirus through touch, post-pandemic.

“End-user organizations adopt RPA technology as a quick and easy fix to automate manual tasks,” said Cathy Tornbohm, vice president at Gartner.

Healthcare applications, like Practo, can not only automate healthcare data management but also provide expert suggested healthcare tips. It connects with the nearest doctors and helps you choose on the basis of feedback, fees and doctor’s profile. It provides affordable healthcare packages, free healthcare tips and many more.

Automation for contactless patient management - Practo

With the implementation of automation in healthcare, it will not only reduce redundancy time but also provide an unbiased and transparent workflow. 

[Also read – Are wellness and diagnostic apps transforming ‘Patient Experience’]

Remote monitoring

AI in healthcare is going to be the next big revolution. Preserving human life by implementing robotic operations would be the next big step in the medicine industry. Basic hygiene will become the most important factor and the scarcity of equipment which we are facing will alarm us to prepare in an exponential and not in a linear way.

In radiology, medical professionals examine medical images such as an X-Ray, ECG or a radiogram to diagnose the illness and suggest a solution. With telemedicine being very popular in present times, workstations can be created where radiologists worldwide can consult each other. With the help of AI and machine learning, solutions can be suggested to the medical practitioner. 

Neucleus.io is one such web-based work station that provides access to medical images with diagnostic workstation performance. 

Medical Images Management - healthcare industry

Training neural networks with the results of past attempts can rule out the need to test every combination in drug creation. It can also guide the treatment discovery process and help in telemedicine through drug selection.

To maintain social distancing and contactless patient monitoring, Robot doctors of Canada are already performing real-time ultrasound and helping doctors treat patients remotely.  

A different future for the healthcare industry

Post pandemic, more of the typical traditional process requiring human functioning will be replaced by machines, to work more swiftly, providing better results. Thermal sensors will be incorporated in our everyday use gadgets like Mobile phones to allow a thermal scanning process so as to differentiate between normal and ill people on the basis of parameters like body temperature, sweat, facial symptoms, etc. 

Digital transformation will be prevalent everywhere post this catastrophe and machines, technologies and AI will become the tools in reshaping the structure of the healthcare industry. If such a situation knocks our door again, we will be all set to sail through the storm.

Check out the webinar on ‘Digital Health Beyond COVID-19: Bringing the Hospital to the Customer’ on our YouTube channel

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Enhancing digital patient experience with healthcare chatbots

5 minutes read

Chatbots are fast emerging at the forefront of user engagement across industries. In 2021, healthcare is undoubtedly being touted as one of the most important industries due to the noticeable surge in demand amid the pandemic and its subsequent waves. The Global Healthcare Chatbots Market is expected to exceed over US$ 314.63 Million by 2024 at a CAGR of 20.58%.

Chatbots are being seen as those with high potential to revolutionize healthcare. They act as the perfect support system to agents on the floor by providing the first-step resolution to the customer, in terms of understanding intent and need, boost efficiency, and also improve the accuracy of symptom detection and ailment identification, preventive care, feedback procedures, claim filing and processing and more.

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital tools in healthcare, most commonly chatbots, rose to the forefront of healthcare solutions. Providence St. Joseph Health, Mass General Brigham, Care Health Insurance (formerly Religare), and several other notable names built and rolled out artificial intelligence-based chatbots to help with diagnostics at the first stage before a human-human virtual contact, especially while differentiating between possible COVID-19 cases and other ailments. The CDC also hosts an AI-driven chatbot on its website to help screen for coronavirus infections. Similarly, the World Health Organization (WHO) partnered with a messaging app named Ratuken Viber, to develop an interactive chatbot for accurate information about COVID-19 in multiple languages. This allowed WHO to reach up to 1 billion people located anywhere in the world, at any time of the day, in their respective native languages.

For Care Health Insurance, Mantra Labs deployed their Conversational AI Chatbot with AR-based virtual support, called Hitee, trained to converse in multiple languages. This led to 10X interactions over the previous basic chatbot; 5X more conversions through Vanilla Web Experience; Drop-in Customer Queries over Voice Support by 20% among other benefits.

Artificial Intelligence’s role in the healthcare industry has been growing strength by strength over the years. According to the global tech market advisory firm ABI Research, AI spending in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries is expected to increase from $463 million in 2019 to more than $2 billion over the next 5 years, healthtechmagazine.net has reported. 

Speaking of key features available on a healthcare chatbot, Anonymity; Monitoring; Personalization; collecting Physical vitals (including oxygenation, heart rhythm, body temperature) via mobile sensors; monitoring patient behavior via facial recognition; Real-time interaction; and Scalability, feature top of the list. 

However, while covering the wide gamut of a healthcare bot’s capabilities, it is trained on the following factors to come in handy on a business or human-need basis. Read on: 

Remote, Virtual Consults 

Chatbots were seen surging exponentially in the year 2016, however, the year 2020 and onwards brought back the possibility of adding on to healthcare bot capabilities as people continued to stay home amid the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. Chatbots work as the frontline customer support for Quick Symptom Assessment where the intent is understood and a patient’s queries are answered, including connection with an agent for follow-up service, Booking an Appointment with doctors, and more. 

Mental Health Therapy

Even though anxiety, depression, and other mental health-related disorders and their subsequent awareness have been the talk around the world, even before the pandemic hit, the pandemic year, once again could be attributed to increased use of bots to seek support or a conversation to work through their anxiety and more amid trying times. The popular apps, Woebot and Wysa, both gained popularity and recognition during the previous months as a go-to Wellness Advisor. 

An AI Wellness Advisor can also take the form of a chatbot that sends regular reminders on meal and water consumption timings, nutrition charts including requisite consultation with nutritionists, lifestyle advice, and more. 

Patient Health Monitoring via wearables 

Wearable technologies like wearable heart monitors, Bluetooth-enabled scales, glucose monitors, skin patches, shoes, belts, or maternity care trackers promise to redefine assessment of health behaviors in a non-invasive manner and helps acquire, transmit, process, and store patient data, thereby making it a breeze for clinicians to retrieve it as and when they need it.

Remote patient monitoring devices also enable patients to share updates on their vitals and their environment from the convenience and comfort of home, a feature that’s gained higher popularity amid the pandemic.

A healthcare chatbot for healthcare has the capability to check existing insurance coverage, help file claims and track the status of claims. 

What’s in store for the future of chatbots in Healthcare? 

The three main areas where healthcare chatbots can be particularly useful include timely health diagnostics, patient engagement outside medical facilities, and mental health care. 

According to Gartner, conversational AI will supersede cloud and mobile as the most important imperative for the next ten years. 

“For AI to succeed in healthcare over the long-term, consumer comfort and confidence should be front and center. Leveraging AI behind the scenes or in supporting roles could collectively ease us into understanding its value without risking alienation,” reads a May 2021 Forbes article titled, The Doctor Is In: Three Predictions For The Future Of AI In Healthcare. 

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