AI-powered chatbots will soon become the first responders for citizens’ engagements with healthcare providers, as the number of chatbot interactions exceeds 2.8 billion annually by 2023, according to the latest study by Juniper Research.
The figures are up from an estimated 21 million in 2018, an average annual growth of 167 percent, according to Juniper.
“Chatbots have the potential to transform the way in which patients engage with their healthcare systems and go some way to take the pressure off overstretched staff. But if deployments are not backed up by investment in record keeping, then financial and time savings will evaporate,” it said.
The study predicts that hospitals that will adopt AI and chatbots will make cost-savings of $4 billion by 2023.
The new research, Digital Health: Disruptor Analysis, Country Readiness & Technology Forecasts 2018-2023, found that the adoption of chatbots will ramp up in the future, due to: citizens becoming more comfortable using chatbots to discuss their healthcare requirements; chatbots becoming an important component of healthcare providers’ customer experience strategies; shortages of medical practitioners to support ageing populations; for example, the German government expects that it will need 3 million more nurses by 2060.
It also noted that increased sophistication of conversational AI platforms are leading to a greater percentage of enquiries being completed entirely via chatbots; freeing up the medical staff time and saving countries’ healthcare systems around $3.7 billion by 2023.
The research found that the first priority for healthcare providers will be to ensure that the information collected is transferred to a person’s medical record and other applications, such as appointment scheduling or for those for dispensing prescriptions. This means that providers of medical records and line of business applications will need to make their existing systems interoperable with chatbot providers.
Research author Michael Larner explained, “Chatbots have the potential to transform the way in which patients engage with their healthcare systems and go some way to take the pressure off overstretched staff. But if deployments are not backed up by investment in record keeping, then financial and time savings will evaporate.”