Conversational Care: How Chatbots Are Transforming the Patient Experience

Every year brings new innovations in medicine and healthcare. Currently, we are witnessing the dynamic development of telemedicine and more and more examples of automated customer service using artificial intelligence, including chatbots. Such tools are successfully replacing patients’ direct contact or telephone conversations with medical staff. Chatbots in healthcare are a quick and easy way to provide your customers with all the necessary information and, in case of an emergency, to inform a doctor about the need to carry out any manipulations with a patient, for example in case of interruption of their life-support systems or other situations.

What is a Chatbot?

Medical chatbots using artificial intelligence can deftly handle simple tasks, freeing up time for trained medical professionals to do the more complex work they are trained to do.

The role of such chatbots could be to ask patients questions such as “Have you been experiencing symptoms such as fever, cold and body aches? Are you experiencing shortness of breath? How long have you been experiencing these symptoms? etc. Then, by analysing this data, the chatbot should provide patients with recommendations or prompt them to make an appointment.

There are also chatbots for doctors themselves, allowing specialists to learn about new drugs, procedures and treatments. An example of such a development is our educational chatbot project on arterial hypertension. By answering the bot’s questions, specialists can learn about new recommendations for treating patients with arterial hypertension and receive recommendations in the form of infographics.

In other words, a chatbot is an artificial intelligence programme designed to reduce the workload of doctors, solve patients’ problems more efficiently and provide them with the necessary advice, prescriptions or recommendations.

Functional Requirements for Medical Clinic Chatbots

Based on our experience of interacting with clinics, we have created a list of functional requirements for medical chatbots:

  • Appointment booking dialogue interface

A chatbot provides a user-friendly and intuitive interface for patients to interact with the clinic. Patients will be able to make an appointment, get information about available services, prices and specialists in the usual messengers/widgets on the website.

  • Integration with health information management systems

For maximum functionality, medical chatbots are integrated with Practice Management Software. This allows you to find out the available time slots to see doctors, make an appointment and transfer the appointment without the need to connect operators to the dialogue. All information is automatically updated in the Practice Management Software.

  • Patient authorisation

To ensure data security, the chatbot needs to identify patients. Patient data from the Practice Management Software database can be used for authorisation.

  • Scenarios

A possible basic set of scenarios that a medical chatbot should support includes

  • Making and cancelling an appointment:
  1. Patients make an appointment with a doctor by selecting a convenient date and time.
  2. Patients reschedule appointments by contacting the bot.
  3. Patients can cancel an appointment. In this case, the bot will proactively offer to reschedule the appointment.
  • Doctor’s schedule

Patients should be able to find out the doctor’s schedule by speciality.

  • Cost of services

Patients inquire about the cost of specific services or appointments with specific specialists.

Chatbots with Natural language Understanding

Chatbots have natural language processing capabilities to accurately understand and correctly handle patient queries.

  • Mobile app integration

A chatbot can be integrated into a healthcare provider’s mobile app, allowing patients to contact the bot in a built-in chat.

  • Reporting and learnability

The platform on which the medical chatbot is built should provide analytics on the bot’s performance and be intuitive so that the bot can be quickly retrained and scenarios changed.

  • Payment processing

The bot will generate and send a link to the patient to pay for the appointment.

  • Complete pre-admission questionnaires

Prior to the appointment, the chatbot prompts the patient to complete medical questionnaires from home in conversational mode, saving time spent in the clinic.

  • Service and marketing mailings

The bot sends out mailings with promotions and special offers, bonus programme notifications, changes in working hours, announcements of new branch openings. After the mailing, the patient can ask clarifying questions.

As a result, an NLU-based chatbot for a medical centre’s patient appointment service is expected to provide convenience for patients, improve service quality, reduce the burden on the medical centre’s resources, and speed up the appointment process.

The Use of Chatbots in Healthcare

Chatbots have the potential to revolutionise healthcare today. They can significantly improve the efficiency and accuracy of symptom detection and diagnosis, assist with preventative and post-operative care, and provide essential information to patients. But that’s not all. Here is some information about the key use cases for chatbots in healthcare: 

  • Making an appointment

Patients can book an appointment with a doctor directly through a chatbot, without having to contact the receptionist or the doctor directly. Moreover, the bots can help the patient find the right doctor for them, send an email to the doctor with the patient’s information, and even create notes in the calendar for both the patient and the doctor’s appointments. In this way, people can schedule clinic appointments online with minimal effort and no stress.

  • Check for symptoms

In case of an emergency, it is important to get the patient to hospital immediately. However, if the situation is not so urgent, the sick person has a little more time to get to the hospital or clinic and make a diagnosis based on the symptoms. This is where chatbots come in, helping to diagnose a patient’s condition by asking them a few simple questions.

In this way, patients can easily report the presence of certain symptoms and assess the severity of the situation with the help of a medical chatbot. And because the chatbot remembers each patient’s unique details, you don’t have to enter the same information the next time you want to get updated formation.

  • Provide support and up-to-date information

If patients keep calling a clinic with the same basic questions, it can be beneficial for the facility to have an intelligent chatbot answer them. In this way, a healthcare chatbot takes on the responsibility of handling these additional queries and ensures that repetitive calls are reduced. In addition, chatbots can be useful for healthcare professionals when they need to access patient information.

  • Assisting in therapy

Therapy chatbots can help with mental health care. However, they are not created to replace licensed human mental health professionals, but rather to assist them. Conversational chatbots can even perform cognitive behavioural therapy to some extent, so it’s a very useful tool in healthcare industry.

Benefits of Chatbots in Healthcare

The importance of artificial intelligence chatbots (AI chatbots) in the healthcare sector is becoming increasingly apparent, as bots offer numerous benefits, such as:

  • Reduced waiting times: Healthcare chatbots prevent long queues in hospitals by providing instant answers to patients.
  • Significant reduction in healthcare costs: Chatbots help to significantly reduce the business overheads associated with maintaining front desk staff or call centre staff.
  • Timely medical advice: care chatbots help provide instant information.
  • Relief for doctors: It is impossible for doctors to attend to all patients in their busy schedules, while medical chatbots are available 24/7.
  • Anonymity: AI-powered medical chatbots are designed to maintain human anonymity, which is very important for sensitive cases, such as gynaecological issues.
  • Timely monitoring: A medical chatbot can help monitor a patient’s health, suggest treatments or remind them of next steps.
  • Real-time interaction: A conversational AI chatbot provides immediate answers and changes them based on input, just like a real-time interaction with a doctor.
  • Scalability: chatbots can easily serve multiple customers without compromising quality of service or increasing clinic costs.
  • Patient Satisfaction: Healthcare chatbots safely provide timely and intelligent solutions, which in turn increases patient satisfaction.


As you can see, chatbots in healthcare are an important tool that not only helps to relieve doctors in their busy schedules, but also a great assistant that can provide patients with comprehensive answers to their questions, make effective recommendations and schedule appointments with doctors.

It’s important to note that while chatbots can be valuable tools, they are not a replacement for professional medical advice. They are often used to complement healthcare services, improve accessibility, and enhance patient experiences. Additionally, the development and deployment of healthcare chatbots should adhere to privacy and security regulations to protect sensitive patient information.

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