AI chatbots to take huge pressure off healthcare services

The number of patients turning to artificial intelligence (AI) for their healthcare is set to explode over the next five years, saving hospitals billions of dollars in the process.

Wednesday 5 

AI chatbots to take huge pressure off healthcare services

Juniper Research said, that as citizens get used to the technology, the number of interactions with AI-powered ‘chatbots’ would jump from 21 million each year to 2.8 billion by 2023.

This is set to free up staff time and save countries’ healthcare systems around $3.7bn (£2.9bn), alleviating the mounting pressure brought on by ageing populations.

“But if deployments are not backed up by investment in record-keeping, then financial and time savings will evaporate,” research author, Michael Larner, warned.

“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.”

Juniper Research describes chatbots as “a computer programme utilising technology designed to simulate conversational interactions with human users,” which may also trigger automated responses.

These can be used to diagnose ailments, but can also provide a vital resource for patients living with chronic disease, with the US most advanced in incorporating the technology in healthcare services.

The NHS is already hoping to launch mobile applications for ailment diagnosis, with the aim of cutting patient waiting times at Accident & Emergency and reducing staff costs.

Several other major health services are looking to do the same, which could be particularly beneficial for countries like Germany which expects it will need three million more nurses by 2060.

Juniper Research said the first priority for healthcare providers should be to ensure that the information collected from patients is transferred to their medical records and other applications.

“This means that providers of medical records and line of business applications will need to make their existing systems interoperable with chatbot providers,” it added.

 

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