AI Chatbots Emerge as a Promising Solution for Accessible Mental Healthcare

chatbot technology in healthcare

A further scoping study would be useful in updating the distribution of the technical strategies being used for COVID-19–related chatbots. Healthcare chatbots can significantly impact the healthcare industry in various ways. With the increasing integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in health tech, the potential for chatbots to revolutionize the patient experience and operational efficiency has never been higher. In 2022, the worldwide market for healthcare chatbots was worth about $195.85 million.

Due to partly automated systems, patient frustration can reach boiling point when patients feel that they must first communicate with chatbots before they can schedule an appointment. The dominos fall when chatbots push patients from traditional clinical face-to-face practice to more complicated automated systems. As computerised chatbots are characterised by a lack of human presence, which is the reverse of traditional face-to-face interactions with HCPs, they may increase distrust in healthcare services. HCPs and patients lack trust in the ability of chatbots, which may lead to concerns about their clinical care risks, accountability and an increase in the clinical workload rather than a reduction. One of the key elements of expertise and its recognition is that patients and others can trust the opinions and decisions offered by the expert/professional.

Depending on the type of chatbot, developers use a graphical user interface, voice interactions, or gestures, all of which use different machine learning models to understand human language and generate appropriate responses. This chatbot solution for healthcare helps patients get all the details they need about a cancer-related topic in one place. It also assists healthcare providers by serving info to cancer patients and their families. This free AI-enabled chatbot allows you to input your symptoms and get the most likely diagnoses.

These chatbots are trained on massive data and include natural language processing capabilities to understand users’ concerns and provide appropriate advice. For an effective chatbot application and enjoyable user experience, chatbots must be designed to make interactions as natural as possible; and this requires machine learning models that can enable the bot to understand the intent and context of conversations. Chatbots drive cost savings in healthcare delivery, with experts estimating that cost savings by healthcare chatbots will reach $3.6 billion globally by 2022. Healthy diets and weight control are key to successful disease management, as obesity is a significant risk factor for chronic conditions. Chatbots have been incorporated into health coaching systems to address health behavior modifications. For example, CoachAI and Smart Wireless Interactive Health System used chatbot technology to track patients’ progress, provide insight to physicians, and suggest suitable activities [45,46].

How Will the Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence Impact Health Care? – California Health Care Foundation

How Will the Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence Impact Health Care?.

Posted: Tue, 28 Nov 2023 08:00:00 GMT [source]

This would increase physicians’ confidence when identifying cancer types, as even highly trained individuals may not always agree on the diagnosis [52]. Studies have shown that the interpretation of medical images for the diagnosis of tumors performs equally well or better with AI compared with experts [53-56]. In addition, automated diagnosis may be useful when there are not enough specialists to review the images. This was made possible through deep learning algorithms in combination with the increasing availability of databases for the tasks of detection, segmentation, and classification [57].

Chatbots have the potential to address many of the current concerns regarding cancer care mentioned above. This includes the triple aim of health care that encompasses improving the experience of care, improving the health of populations, and reducing per capita costs [21]. Chatbots can improve the quality or experience of care by providing efficient, equitable, and personalized medical services.

The application should be in line with up-to-date medical regulations, ethical codes and research data. Pasquale pointed to an Australian study of 82 mobile apps ‘marketed to those suffering from bipolar disorder’, only to find out that ‘the apps were, in general, not in line with practice guidelines or established self-management principles’ (p. 57). When customers interact with businesses or navigate through websites, they want quick responses to queries and an agent to interact with in real time.

A use case is a specific AI chatbot usage scenario with defined input data, flow, and outcomes. An AI-driven chatbot can identify use cases by understanding users’ intent from their requests. Use cases should be defined in advance, involving business analysts and software engineers. Twenty of these apps (25.6%) had faulty elements such as providing irrelevant responses, frozen chats, and messages, or broken/unintelligible English. Three of the apps were not fully assessed because their healthbots were non-functional.

Furthermore, due to the complex organization and workflow of conventional health care services, it is challenging for patients and caregivers to navigate the health care system [45]. As such, more digital tools have been introduced to help patients triage before seeing a doctor and gain information to fill their knowledge gap. For example, as predecessors of self-diagnosis chatbots, online symptom checkers have been launched to more effectively provide possible alternative diagnoses to patients and direct them to the appropriate care settings [46]. Prior work illustrated that symptom checkers have an acceptable level of patient compliance with medical advice [47] and triage accuracy [48]. With the advances in artificial intelligence (AI) technology in recent years, there is an opportunity to tackle the challenges and barriers faced by patients in seeking timely health information and to reduce the burdens posed on medical professionals [16,17]. That is, AI-driven intelligent systems, such as health chatbots, have emerged to support patients seeking medical advice irrespective of time and place [18].

Future of Chatbots in Healthcare

Furthermore, only a limited number of studies were included for each subtopic of chatbots for oncology apps because of the scarcity of studies addressing this topic. Future studies should consider refining the search strategy to identify other potentially relevant sources that may have been overlooked and assign multiple reviews to limit individual bias. The ability to accurately measure performance is critical for continuous feedback and improvement of chatbots, especially the high standards and vulnerable individuals served in health care. Given that the introduction of chatbots to cancer care is relatively recent, rigorous evidence-based research is lacking. Standardized indicators of success between users and chatbots need to be implemented by regulatory agencies before adoption.

Rasa is also available in Docker containers, so it is easy for you to integrate it into your infrastructure. This interactive shell mode, used as the NLU interpreter, will return an output in the same format you ran the input, indicating the bot’s capacity to classify intents and extract entities accurately. Ensure to remove all unnecessary or default files in this folder before proceeding to the next stage of training your bot.

chatbot technology in healthcare

They are likely to become ubiquitous and play a significant role in the healthcare industry. It can provide symptom-based solutions, suggest remedies, and even connect patients to nearby specialists. Healthcare chatbots prove to be particularly beneficial for those individuals suffering from chronic health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, and others. This chatbot template collects reviews from patients after they have availed your healthcare services.

Symptoms Assessment

These chatbots are trained on healthcare-related data and can respond to many patient inquiries, including appointment scheduling, prescription refills, and symptom checking. From a practical perspective, VAs can automate traditional telehealth services that require human providers to operate. Using conversational agents, it is possible to collect and share information at the levels of public health and individual patients. Voice chatbots can support routine care through automatic at-home monitoring, triaging, screening, providing medical recommendations and guidelines, and improving operational workflow.

They are considering training some women to help ask the chatbot prompts on behalf of someone else, though still aim to improve the chatbot so it can be released on its own. Improving human health through the combination of cutting-edge technologies and top medical expertise. In other words, they’re trying to fix the first step people take when they start feeling bad. If you’re looking to get a personalized consultation and diagnosis validation from a doctor, it will cost $99 for each consultation.

Therefore, we decided to split the entire data set into “completed” and “uncompleted” consultation sessions for further analysis. In particular, we used content analysis [34] and statistical analysis in combination to analyze both types of sessions to investigate the issues and barriers that may occur during the interactions between DoctorBot and users. We also performed statistical analysis (ie, logistic regression and principal component analysis [PCA]) to explore the characteristics of uncompleted consultations. Examining these aspects could help us gain a preliminary understanding of the factors that could potentially lead to user dropout. The content analysis was augmented by statistical analysis to further explore the influencing factors on the emerged interaction issues.

Chatbot Keeps Your Patients Satisfied

Adherence to laws such as HIPAA cannot be undermined in order to protect patient privacy and security. By taking this action, the use of chatbots to handle sensitive healthcare data is given credibility and trust. Clearly describing the needs and their scope is essential once they have been recognized. A clearly defined scope guarantees that the chatbot’s skills correspond with the intended results, whether those outcomes be expediting appointment scheduling, offering medical information, or aiding in medical diagnosis. The groundwork for a focused and efficient conversational AI in healthcare is laid by this action. Our tech team has prepared five app ideas for different types of AI chatbots in healthcare.

chatbot technology in healthcare

Conversational chatbots are built to be contextual tools that respond based on the user’s intent. However, there are different levels of maturity to a conversational chatbot – not all of them offer the same depth of conversation. After reading this blog, you will hopefully walk away with a solid understanding that chatbots and healthcare are a perfect match for each other.

The app she uses is powered by artificial intelligence running on OpenAI’s ChatGPT model, that Myna Mahila Foundation, a local women’s organization, is developing. Through those interactions, Thatkare learned about a contraceptive pill and how to take it. “Mental-health related problems are heavily individualized problems,” Bera says, yet the available data on chatbot therapy is heavily weighted toward white males. That bias, he says, makes the technology more likely to misunderstand cultural cues from people like him, who grew up in India, for example. Technology has gotten good at identifying and labeling emotions fairly accurately, based on motion and facial expressions, a person’s online activity, phrasing and vocal tone, says Rosalind Picard, director of MIT’s Affective Computing Research Group.

“The hype and promise is way ahead of the research that shows its effectiveness,” says Serife Tekin, a philosophy professor and researcher in mental health ethics at the University of Texas San Antonio. Algorithms are still not at a point where they can mimic the complexities of human emotion, let alone emulate empathetic care, she says. With a CAGR of 15% over the upcoming couple of years, the healthcare chatbot market growth is astonishing. Moreover, chatbots can send empowering messages and affirmations to boost one’s mindset and confidence. While a chatbot cannot replace medical attention, it can serve as a comprehensive self-care coach.

The focus was on emergency care, scaling up beds in intensive care units, and reassigning roles among the clinical staff. Furthermore, shortages of personal protective equipment, especially in the early phase of the pandemic, exposed health care workers to the infection and the incapability to combat the COVID-19 pandemic [38-40]. Subsequently, we observed an unprecedented health care crisis having a direct and indirect impact on medical patients with and those without COVID-19.

Introducing 10 Responsible Chatbot Usage Principles – ICTworks

Introducing 10 Responsible Chatbot Usage Principles.

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The search was further limited using the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) categories “Medical Health” and “Healthy Living”. The IAB develops industry standards to support categorization in the digital advertising industry; 42Matters labeled apps using these standards40. Relevant apps on the iOS Apple store were identified; then, chatbot technology in healthcare the Google Play store was searched with the exclusion of any apps that were also available on iOS, to eliminate duplicates. Further work of this research would be exploring in detail existing chatbot platforms and compare them. It would also be interesting to examine the degree of ingenuity and functionality of current chatbots.


Access to patient information enables chatbots to tailor interactions, providing contextually relevant assistance and information. Infused with advanced AI capabilities, medical chatbot play a pivotal role in the initial assessment of symptoms. While not a substitute for professional diagnosis, this feature equips users with initial insights into their symptoms before seeking guidance from a healthcare professional.

A retrieval-based chatbot retrieves some response candidates from an index before it applies the matching approach to the response selection [37]. For example, the system entity corresponds to standard date references like 10 August 2019 or the 10th of August [28]. Domain entity extraction usually referred to as a slot-filling problem, is formulated as a sequential tagging problem where parts of a sentence are extracted and tagged with domain entities [32]. Search results in Scopus by year for “chatbot” or “conversation agent” or “conversational interface” as keywords from 2000 to 2019. As a result of patient self-diagnoses, physicians may have difficulty convincing patients of their potential preliminary misjudgement.

Technology might also help improve the efficacy of treatment by notifying therapists when patients skip medications, or by keeping detailed notes about a patient’s tone or behavior during sessions. The chatbot would then suggest things that might soothe her, or take her mind off the pain — like deep breathing, listening to calming music, or trying a simple exercise she could do in bed. Ali says things the chatbot said reminded her of the in-person therapy she did years earlier. “It’s not a person, but, it makes you feel like it’s a person,” she says, “because it’s asking you all the right questions.”

  • The technology helps clinicians categorize patients depending on how severe their conditions are.
  • The results show a substantial increase in the interest of chatbots in the past few years, shortly before the pandemic.
  • In healthcare technology, in particular, the handling of sensitive medical and financial data by AI tools necessitates stringent data protection measures.
  • Our developers can create any conversational agent you need because that’s what custom healthcare chatbot development is all about.
  • We acknowledge the difficulty in identifying the nature of systemic change and looking at its complex network-like structure in the functioning of health organisations.

As Figure 4 shows, diseases with mild symptoms, such as those in the gastroenterology and dermatology categories, appeared in a lot of chatbot consultations, in proportions that were significantly higher than those seen in primary hospitals. One possible explanation is that people with mild symptoms would prefer using the chatbot to query the necessity of clinical visits first, rather than going to hospitals directly. We also noticed the use of DoctorBot to seek help on medical conditions that often entail considerable privacy and social stigma issues, such as sexually transmitted diseases.

Our analysis also showed that such questions usually took longer than other relatively simple questions, such as questions about demographic information (91.1 s versus 17.6 s, respectively). One possible explanation is that symptom-related questions were usually hard to answer and could easily overwhelm or even confuse users, leaving them unsure of what input to provide and eventually causing them to terminate the conversation. For example, during a consultation for a headache, the chatbot asked whether the user was experiencing a series of symptoms related to headaches, such as fever, vomiting, stuffy nose, cough, and chest tightness.

Human-aided chatbots utilize human computation in at least one element from the chatbot. Crowd workers, freelancers, or full-time employees can embody their intelligence in the chatbot logic to fill the gaps caused by limitations of fully automated chatbots. While human computation, compared to rule-based algorithms and machine learning, provides more flexibility and robustness, still, it cannot process a given piece of information as fast as a machine, which makes it hard to scale to more user requests [35]. A sentence (stimuli) is entered, and output (response) is created consistent with the user input [11]. Eliza and ALICE were the first chatbots developed using pattern recognition algorithms.

The most advanced medical software solutions are defined to be SaMD, which, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act include services designed to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent disease. Interestingly, regulatory authorities tend to facilitate the implementation of chatbot technology into clinical practice, especially in the context of the current pandemic. For example, the Danish COVID-19 RPA triaging chatbot that incorporates if-then branching logic was evaluated as being of “lower risk” by the FDA despite featuring a diagnostic component when the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act was not enforced [35]. To our knowledge, none of the current VA-deployed health care apps are classified as SaMD.

This requires the same kind of plasticity from conversations as that between human beings. The division of task-oriented and social chatbots requires additional elements to show the relation among users, experts (professionals) and chatbots. Most chatbot cases—at least task-oriented chatbots—seem to be user facing, that is, they are like a ‘gateway’ between the patient and the HCP. In these ethical discussions, technology use is frequently ignored, technically automated mechanical functions are prioritised over human initiatives, or tools are treated as neutral partners in facilitating human cognitive efforts. So far, there has been scant discussion on how digitalisation, including chatbots, transform medical practices, especially in the context of human capabilities in exercising practical wisdom (Bontemps-Hommen et al. 2019).

The COVID-19 pandemic also impacted employers who faced several challenges when operating in a difficult organizational situation. Some institutions including hospitals were required to screen all employees and visitors for COVID-19 symptoms prior to entrance. For example, University of California San Francisco Health was posed with a tremendous logistical challenge, which was solved by using a chatbot technology [45].

chatbot technology in healthcare

It is important to know about them before implementing the technology, so in the future you will face little to no issues. The issue of mental health today is as critical as ever, and the impact of COVID-19 is among the main reasons for the growing number of disorders and anxiety. According to Forbes, the number of people with anxiety disorders grew from 298 million to 374 million, which is really a significant increase. And since not everyone can receive sufficient help for their mental health, chatbots have become a truly invaluable asset. It can be done via different ways, by asking questions or through a questionnaire that a patient fills in themselves.

chatbot technology in healthcare

CardioCube also asks about dyspnea, quality of life, or prompts for tasks including, “Let’s check your ischemic and bleeding risk again,” in reference to CHA2DS2-VASc/HAS-BLED scores. Afterward, CardioCube automatically transmits the results to a proprietary server integrated with the EHR system and red-flags any alarming reports. This solution, which complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the General Data Protection Regulation, was validated at Cedars Sinai Medical Center [7] and classified by the FDA as a Medical Device Data System.

This proactive approach minimizes the risk of missed doses, fostering a higher level of patient compliance with prescribed treatment plans. The chatbot has undergone extensive testing and optimization and is now prepared for use. With real-time monitoring, problems can be quickly identified, user feedback can be analyzed, and changes can be made quickly to keep the health bot working effectively in a variety of healthcare scenarios. While they improved efficiency by freeing up human resources from mundane tasks, they were quite limited in their capacity to understand and respond to complex patient inquiries. Their functionality revolved around a set of predefined rules, and they lacked the ability to learn from past interactions or provide personalized responses. Medical chatbots might pose concerns about the privacy and security of sensitive patient data.

The overall functionality, dependability, and user experience of chatbots in the healthcare industry are improved by adding these extra steps to the development and deployment process. Through the adoption of a patient-centered technology strategy, healthcare providers can fully utilize medical chatbots to transform the way patients receive and receive care. As we delve into the realm of conversational AI in healthcare, it becomes evident that these medical chatbot play a pivotal role in enhancing the overall patient experience. Beyond the conventional methods of interaction, the incorporation of chatbots in healthcare holds the promise of revolutionizing how patients access information, receive medical advice, and engage with healthcare professionals.

chatbot technology in healthcare

From those who have a coronavirus symptom scare to those with other complaints, AI-driven chatbots may become part of hospitals’ plans to meet patients’ needs during the lockdown. Many health professionals have taken to telemedicine to consult with their patients, allay fears, and provide prescriptions. Information can be customized to the user’s needs, something that’s impossible to achieve when searching for COVID-19 data online via search engines. What’s more, the information generated by chatbots takes into account users’ locations, so they can access only information useful to them. Rasa NLU is an open-source library for natural language understanding used for intent classification, response generation and retrieval, entity extraction in designing chatbot conversations.

Conversational chatbots can be trained on large datasets, including the symptoms, mode of transmission, natural course, prognostic factors, and treatment of the coronavirus infection. Bots can then pull info from this data to generate automated responses to users’ questions. For example, it may be almost impossible for a healthcare chat bot to give an accurate diagnosis based on symptoms for complex conditions. You can foun additiona information about ai customer service and artificial intelligence and NLP. While chatbots that serve as symptom checkers could accurately generate differential diagnoses of an array of symptoms, it will take a doctor, in many cases, to investigate or query further to reach an accurate diagnosis. A user interface is the meeting point between men and computers; the point where a user interacts with the design.

The use of chatbots evolved rapidly in numerous fields in recent years, including Marketing, Supporting Systems, Education, Health Care, Cultural Heritage, and Entertainment. In this paper, we first present a historical overview of the evolution of the international community’s interest in chatbots. Next, we discuss the motivations that drive the use of chatbots, and we clarify chatbots’ usefulness in a variety of areas. After clarifying necessary technological concepts, we move on to a chatbot classification based on various criteria, such as the area of knowledge they refer to, the need they serve and others. Furthermore, we present the general architecture of modern chatbots while also mentioning the main platforms for their creation.