For patients at Banner Health, the waiting room experience just got a lot more digital, thanks to a partnership with LifeLink. The pair are now working on deploying a conversational mobile chatbot to help with intake forms and remote check-ins for both in-person and telehealth visits.
The bots will be able to give patients tech advice when they are using telemedicine. When used at physical locations, the chatbots will be able to tell patients when to go directly into the exam room.
“The traditional pre-visit process of walking into an office, filling out paper forms, reading instructions, and then waiting for an exam room had to change,” Jeff Johnson, vice president, Digital Business at Banner Health, said in a statement. “LifeLink chatbots have already helped hundreds of thousands of Banner patients navigate Emergency Room visits so the concept of digitizing regular doctor appointment visits with a mobile, virtual waiting room chatbot assistant was a natural extension of the technology.”
WHY IT MATTERS
The pair are pitching this as a way to decrease the direct interactions between staff and patients during coronavirus pandemic. To date the United States has the highest number of coronavirus cases, with over 1.3 million on record, WHO reports.
Providers have been increasingly looking for ways to cut down on face-to-face time with patients that can find help in alternative ways – as in telemedicine.
“The COVID-19 pandemic requires an entirely different level of thinking when it comes to providing routine patient services,” Greg Johnsen, CEO at LifeLink, said in a statement. “Like the changes we are seeing in retail, healthcare providers need to adapt, and the waiting room experience is one area that will need to change. We take great pride in knowing that LifeLink chatbots are providing peace of mind and convenience for the patients that need to see their doctors.”
THE LARGER TREND
Today we are seeing an addition of chatbots on the market designed to meet the unique needs of a pandemic. Providence St. Joseph Health in Washington State implemented a triage chatbot to help patients determine what level of care they should be seeking. The tool is linked to an on-demand patient-care visit, where users can get in touch with a clinician.
Early on in the pandemic, chatbot company Buoy Health worked on creating a free corona virus checker. It has teamed up with disease-mapping system HealthMap to help give statistics about possible cases and clusters at home.
Apple and the White House also teamed up on a coronavirus screening tool in late March.
ON THE RECORD
“One of the key benefits of chatbot technology is the ease of use,” Johnson said in a statement. “Interactions that use natural language eliminate the need for user training, and there are no apps or passwords required, so it’s simple for patients to interact with us securely, on any device. We have seen high engagement rates as a result.”