Healthcare transforming into a consumer-driven industry
There are 7.9 billion people on Earth, and all of them require medical assistance, at least from time to time. Healthcare is, in fact, one of the greatest impactors of how individuals perceive their quality of life. It is also one of the sectors facing the highest number of challenges and transformations in the coming years.
Patients are better informed and more connected today than they have ever been. They are increasingly taking an authoritative role in their healthcare journey and ask for transparency in their care and access on their terms. They are demanding the transition to an industry that answers their needs, hopes, fears, and aspirations.
Focused as it is on patient-centric care, the Regina Maria healthcare network understood that improving user experience and increasing the effectiveness of its communication with patients needed digital support. In a fast-moving world, where time is one of the scarcest resources, automating client interactions to create a nimbler organization would undoubtedly benefit both patients and personnel.
The solution to Regina Maria's needs was MARIA, a front-end intelligent virtual assistant located on the company’s website and mobile application is capable of offering customer support whenever and wherever patients needed it.
MARIA is fully integrated with Regina Maria’s existing Microsoft Dynamics CRM and hosted on Microsoft Azure Cloud, allowing for increased flexibility in user access. It enables both existing and new patients full access to information, from checking the costs of various investigations or care services to information about any of Regina Maria’s multiple locations across the country or the thousands of doctors. MARIA also easily enables patients to find out available times for appointments, schedule them, and modify or cancel existing appointments, all within seconds. For new customers, the chatbot MARIA can assist with the marketing process, offering detailed information on the best available subscriptions based on a series of data provided by the user, and can connect to a human operator to finalize the process.
For existing Regina Maria patients, thanks to its integration with the healthcare operator’s MyAccount feature, the chatbot can offer real-time information on the services included in the subscription or about invoices and payments. By helping make the patient journey more efficient, AI-driven MARIA was able to free up the resources of healthcare organizations and had a direct impact on patient engagement.
The deployment of conversational technology to healthcare is gaining momentum, fueled by changing customer expectations, the increasing popularity of mobile health apps, and the need for increased engagement and usability. Benefits are multiple, from reducing costs worldwide to relieving pressure on healthcare professionals and more efficiently allocating resources.
However, the single most significant benefit is improved patient outcomes – the ultimate goal of all health services and medical care. To succeed in this highly competitive landscape, healthcare organizations must invest in digital solutions and infrastructure that both meet patient expectations for seamless experiences and help them stand out in an increasingly saturated environment. Consequently, the global healthcare chatbots market is expected to reach $703.2 million by 2025. AI spending in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries is expected to similarly increase from $463 million in 2019 to more than $2 billion over the next five years.