For those not familiar with the term, a chatbot is a computer program that conducts an online conversation with the client. Chatbots are often designed to convincingly simulate how a human would react as a conversational partner (known as natural language processing), thereby making clients think they are actually communicating with a human being instead of a computer program. If the conversation gets to a certain level of detail, the chatbot will pass the conversation to a real human, who then completes the transaction. Chatbots are great for such things as customer service dialogue and for clients seeking information acquisition.

Some that have been successful include “Health Tap,” a bot that helps people take care of their health and well-being, and “Florence,” a healthcare chatbot that reminds you to take your medication, checks your symptoms, sends you daily health tips, finds a doctor for you and helps you make appointments.

Bots are being used to ensure patients follow the correct protocol in advance of procedures and answer questions. They can also be used to anticipate issues based on data, proactively and periodically check in with the patient after the procedure to ensure pain levels are being managed, schedule follow-up appointments, confirm and reorder prescriptions, send and receive photo and video updates, and track progress toward the employee’s return to work. The bots are available 24/7 to serve the patient, they never forget and they get smarter with every interaction. I guess you could say they make house calls.