One-on-one meetings and personal phone calls are great ways for providers to stay engaged with their patients, but these traditional communications methods take time and cost money. Fortunately, new automated technologies are available to help healthcare systems stay closely involved with their patients without further depleting already stretched resources. 

Some of the most promising new systems involve “bots.” Message bots or chatbots are automated programs that allow for conversations to take place through text messaging or similar platforms. Because today’s consumers are demanding faster and easier access to the companies they deal with, firms in fields from insurance to gaming are using bots to increase and enhance engagement with clients.

Not surprisingly, bots are now being employed in healthcare to allow for regular, two-way communication between providers and patients. When designed properly, bots can be used to schedule appointments, send reminders, help patients plan for upcoming procedures, and check to see if a patient is taking prescribed medications or following treatment plans.

Already, bots have been shown to improve patient communication, save money, and improve outcomes. For example, the New York State healthcare system Northwell Health recently launched “Northwell Health Chats,” an automated communications platform that lets patients stay connected with their health plan while allowing physicians to stay in close contact with their patients. Created by Conversa Health, these “health chats” are personalized, profile-driven automated conversations that ask/answer medical questions, follow up on appointments and procedures, and more. Patient satisfaction with Northwell Health Chats stands at 97%, and the platform has been credited with reducing post-acute care expenses at hospitals in the Northwell system.

Despite the promise of bots, some healthcare organizations are reluctant to adopt the new technology. Some fear that the systems may be too impersonal for some patients or that important nuances that physicians pick up from personal interactions may be missed. Others express concern that the technology may alienate older, less tech-savvy patients, or that the cost and time savings may be exaggerated.

Concerns like these are raised whenever a new technology is introduced into healthcare. However, reports from the market confirm that bots can increase and improve communication, many older patients are willing to adopt the technology (particularly if their caregivers are involved), and significant cost savings have been realized from lowering administrative costs and producing better outcomes.

Recently Formativ forged a partnership with Conversa to leverage its “conversational AI” technology to power “Health Chats” to help its clients to communicate easier, faster and in a more significant way with patients. The Conversa partnership is another way Formativ is strengthening its Patient Engagement Platform to better serve its clients as Conversa delivers personalized, automated conversations that help monitor, manage, and engage patient populations at scale.

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