PHILADELPHIA – Thomas Jefferson Health is finding that conversational interface technologies like chatbots improve patient engagement and support more positive outcomes.
Chatbots are proving successful at the health system because they are easy for patients to interact with and they mimic a personal interaction, unlike typical mobile apps, said Rob Neff, director of innovative technology solutions at Thomas Jefferson Health, in a recent webinar.
“When a patient interacts with our chatbot they are not asked to create a password or user profile,” said Neff. “The authentication happens through a conversation with the patient to understand who they are and what they need.”
Chatbots use artificial intelligence technology to simulate human conversation, said Josh Raymond, product manager at health cloud provider CloudMine, in the webinar. They emulate human interaction to perform specific tasks and understand natural language voice commands.
“Chatbots are programmed, so there’s not a lot of room for deviation from the script,” said Raymond. “That’s why they cut down on user friction.”
Raymond explained that chatbots seem to engage patients better when a provider needs to collect data at specific times. Mobile apps can be more beneficial when continual interaction with a patient is needed.
Using a platform created with CloudMine, Thomas Jefferson Health is looking at integrating the chatbot technology in multiple ways across the health system. It has already rolled out the technology for patient-specific use, such as collecting health data between visits, and is about to launch a general use chatbot to help patients navigate its 14-hospital system.
“We can leverage conversational interfaces like chatbots to improve patient engagement by reducing the complexity of interacting with technology,” said Neff. “That’s what we’re aiming to solve, and we think chatbots in health care are going to be really helpful.”