Chatbots that simulate human conversations and virtual assistants that emulate human interaction offer the potential to reduce the friction associated with adopting engagement solutions that require patients to complete complicated or unfamiliar tasks. Though the market for these products is new, the disruptive potential is substantial for patient engagement (as well as overall care delivery), so provider, payer, and vendor stakeholders should waste little time identifying use cases or potential partnerships.
- Align chatbot deployment with the business model of a healthcare organization (HCO). Fee-for-service (FFS) entities will want solutions that drive business to their doors; only providers bearing risk will seek solutions that alleviate the need to provide low-acuity care onsite.
- Plan today for a healthcare system where chatbots and virtual assistants perform iterative transactions and predict outcomes without human intervention, even if that reality may be years away.
- Expect chatbots and virtual assistants to impact HCO operations, revenue, corporate structure, and business strategy – in addition to dramatically altering clinical workflows both at home and in the hospital – by the early 2020s.