Healthcare Chatbots: Preparing to Chat

Adding a chatbot to your health system website might seem daunting, but all it takes is the right combination of preparation, training, and asking the right questions.

Here’s what to expect as you get ready to extend that conversation.  

What does the process look like?

Adding a chatbot to your site isn’t difficult if you take it one step at a time:

Step 1 - Planning

You’ll start by defining goals and measurements, identifying the key players and creating a strategy for identifying the content you want to include in chat. A good place to start is by asking yourself:

  • What are you looking to accomplish with the chatbot?
  • What’s your goal and how will you measure success with the chatbot? For example:
    • Is it to increase chatbot engagement?
    • Improve site navigation?
    • Decrease call center volume?
  • Who will take ownership of the chatbot and be the point of contact?

Step 2 - Data collection

Next, you’ll gather the data to start training the chatbot with the specifics of your healthcare organization. This will include things like physician profiles, locations, service lines and insurance information.

Step 3 - Training & testing

Once the chatbot has been tailored to your organization, you’re almost ready to go. But first, you’ll need to train your team on new procedures. And you’ll test the chatbot in a staging environment to smooth out any wrinkles before you launch.

Step 4 - Going live

It’s smart to roll out chat in stages. The initial rollout might cover certain basic topics, such as finding providers or locations. Chat is driven by artificial intelligence, meaning it gets smarter each time it interacts with a visitor. As the AI chatbot learns from your site’s visitors, it will guide your strategy for expanding your chat-based offerings in later phases.

How long will it take?

Expect the preparation and implementation process to take 30 to 60 days, give or take. Of course, the timeline can vary depending on a lot of factors. The more organized and accessible your data is, the more smoothly the process should go.

What can I do to prepare for chat?

Start by asking questions. After all, visitors come to your site for answers, so you’ll want to have a handle on what they’re looking for.

Cast a wide net. Talking to different service lines, administrators and folks at the contact center will help your chatbot learn and prepare for the type of questions different stakeholders receive from patients and visitors daily.

How do I know if we’re ready?

Preparing is important, but you shouldn’t be deterred from moving forward because you don’t know everything right off the bat. Since the chatbot learns from every interaction, you can expect it to get better over time.

Ready, set, chat!