As budding baby boomers watched George Jetson’s maid, Rosie, scurry about with mop and broom, and Captain Kirk communicate with Spock at the furthest reaches of the starship Enterprise, they dreamt of a day when technology would put a galaxy of convenience at their own fingertips. Fast forward to 2018, and it is obvious that communication with artificial intelligence has become the norm.
Alexa voice-enables any connected device. We share every thought with Siri and Cortana. Google Home and Assistant are “at your service” aidingin everything from entertainment to home security. Is it any wonder that chatbots have become a necessity in providing healthcare services?
The rise of the bot
A chatbot is a computer program that interfaces with human users. A bot applies complex logic to the inquiries and responses of the user to guide the conversation toward useful answers
, actions, resources. Today there are an estimated 100,000+ chatbots on the Messenger platform alone, with countless other options. How did we get here?
- Popularity of instant messaging exploded! – Where once consumers viewed these platforms dubiously, by 2015 the top four messaging systems had more monthly active users than the big four social media networks.
- Facebook played a major role – When it opened Messenger to bot developers in 2016, one-on-one conversations between consumers and businesses took off.
- AI advanced – The rules and logic surrounding artificial intelligence have improved dramatically, making the process more predictable and credible.
- Consumer expectation changed – The standard of customer care has long been talking with a compassionate “real person.” A demand for the convenience of round the clock access to answers has replaced the value of that standard in the eyes of consumers. This is especially true in the healthcare sector, where patients are in a state of physical discomfort or emotional distress. A call back tomorrow during business hours or an appointment next week just isn’t good enough.
- Apps are so “yesterday”- Busy consumers are weary of downloading and installing special software to accomplish a single purpose. They welcome the immediacy of an automatic chatbot.
- Cost effective – Many businesses, including medical professionals, recognize how economical development and deployment of a personalized chatbotsis compared to human staffing.
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