Chatbots Reshape the Way COVID-19 Era Healthcare Facilities and Hospitals Connect with Patients
// By James Ramey //
There’s no doubt that recent circumstances surrounding COVID-19 have reshaped the way hospitals and healthcare facilities connect with their patients. Shelter-in-place ordinances and stay-at-home mandates have forced many provider organizations to rely on technologies like chatbots and knowledge management tools that use artificial intelligence (AI) with machine learning (ML) to manage much of the workload required for serving their patients’ needs.
Technology has played an increasingly important role, a trend that will likely continue post-pandemic. Messaging apps, AI, and self-service customer support have allowed healthcare organizations to scale down contact centers that manage billing, payments, and appointments, and they are relying more on chatbot technology to give patients the quick and reliable answers they need.
Today’s consumers expect brands to go above and beyond to meet their needs and provide them with excellent customer service — and the healthcare industry is not immune to these expectations with their patients. Patients are used to calling customer care representatives when they have questions, or to pay their bills, inquire about insurance needs, or book appointments.
In the wake of COVID-19, call center operations may have been scaled back, resulting in longer than usual wait times and a backlog of calls and inquiries, with fewer representatives available to handle them. But patients still expect the same level of service. In fact, during this unprecedented time, answers to questions and access to customer service are even more critical.
It has been a challenge for contact centers to handle the volume of calls, with thousands of patients on hold at any given time, needing information or trying to book appointments. Working together with technology companies, healthcare organization contact centers are creating solutions that support agents with their workload while delivering the customer experience patients have come to expect.