Why Your Healthcare Website Needs a Chatbot Now

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Why Your Healthcare Website Needs a Chatbot Now

Why Your Healthcare Website Needs a Chatbot Now

Marguerite McGrail

Healthcare websites are embracing chatbots, especially large complex sites with in-depth information and different types of audiences. That’s because when it comes to getting answers on the web, people expect quick responses, especially about their health.

A chatbot, by definition, is a type of software you install on your website that conducts an online conversation via texts. It can be rules-based or use artificial intelligence to interpret the text a user enters into the chat window and give an automated response.

Live chat, on the other hand, is a real-time messaging application used to facilitate conversations between a website visitor and a live person.

Chat software is essential for healthcare websites because it can simplify communication between patients and caregivers and cut back on costs. They can also reduce user frustration caused by filling out tedious forms and having to wait for a response.

But don’t worry, the human touch is not going away anytime soon. In fact, it’s a best practice to combine chatbots with live chat for the most satisfactory experience for your users and your organization.

What Type of Chatbot Should You Use?

We’ve worked with many of our healthcare and medical clients to implement chatbots on their website designs. One client, a national nurse staffing company, was looking to implement a chatbot to streamline their communication between website visitors--traveling nurses looking for employment--and the company.

They wanted a live chat that would allow nurses to ask questions in real time and get responses from their team. They also wanted a default AI chatbot, with links to how-to videos within their community area to instruct users on basic site functionality. And lastly, they wanted to notify users of new features and direct them to the appropriate area in which they can utilize those features.

The Process

The first step of our process was to find the right chat platform for the client. There were many chatbots to choose from including Bold360, Zendesk, Drift, Watson, and Hubspot. There were certain features the client was looking for in the chat software. They wanted the flexibility of being able to choose which pages would have the chatbot and which ones would not. They also wanted a chatbot that would work best and be easiest with a handoff to a live person. There were page load performance issues to consider as well. Embed apps typically slow down a site which, in turn, can negatively affect ranking due to the recent Core Web Vitals and Page Experience Google updates.

Our team researched the top chatbot programs to determine which one would be best for the client’s needs.

Top features they were looking for were:

  • Custom qualifiers before chatting
  • Ability to chat with agents internally
  • Transfer chats between agents easily
  • Customizable

What About HIPAA Compliance for the Chatbot?

Any time your website captures protected health information (PHI) using chatbots or forms, these must be made HIPAA-compliant. Steps need be taken with most commercially available chatbot programs to ensure compliance, such as encryption and secure storage of information logs. There are also out-of-the-box HIPAA compliant chatbots on the market, including SmatBox360, HealthEngage, and Salesforce’s Einstein Bots, among others.

Since our client was a nurse staffing company, and did not deal with PHI, we did not have to perform HIPAA compliance customization for their chatbot.

For ease of use Drift was selected for their pricing flexibility and scalability. The client found the interface simple to use so they wouldn’t have to spend a lot of time training and could get it up and running quickly. The client was pleased to be able to take advantage of answering customer questions in real time, which could result in more sign ups for their staffing service.

Chatbots are the future of healthcare. They make it easier to schedule appointments, answer insurance coverage questions quickly. But they also improve overall care because they reduce the time your staff spends answering administrative questions on the phone so they can spend more time serving patients one on one.

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