The Complete Guide to Using Chatbots for your hospital

Engage, convert and navigate care for your patients at scale with Medical AI Assistants not chatbots


  • Introduction

  • Why Chatbots

  • The bump in the road for chatbots in healthcare

  • Personalized healthcare is the key

  • The new benchmark



Chatbots have massive potential for successful implementation across the healthcare sector and patients today are taking control of their healthcare choices more than ever before, demanding greater convenience and easy access to information.

3 in 4 people have gone online to find out about a doctor or dentist, and more than 57 % do so regularly. Attracting and retaining patients in this environment requires improving each digital touchpoint for patients, both before and after their visit. 
Chatbots for hospitals are particularly important for:

1.  Improving care access - Booking appointments, service bookings, care management
2. Generate greater topline for hospitals by improved service delivery

3. Automating some of the hospital operations which burden the care teams like     frontline care, follow on care and timely assistance to prevent ER

4. Engage patients where they are: on the web, phone lines or social media


In this guide, you’ll learn how to use chatbots at hospitals to acquire, qualify and convert leads at scale. With its actionable tips and templates, you’ll be able to choose wisely on the first AI Assistant for your hospital from amongst the buzz. 

Why Chatbots for hospitals ?

Evolving patient demands. Today’s patients need :


✔️Greater Access and convenience

Patients are looking for a more convenient and personalised care options providing healthcare centres. When they have easy access to their medical records, the answers to their health concerns and other health information are right on their smartphones. For example, patients don’t have to wait on the organization’s front desk staff to set up an appointment because they can do it themselves on their phone. Mobile tools empower patients to take charge of their care.

But at the same time, over 87% of patients do not keep any apps related to healthcare or hospitals to make and the retention rate or usage is very poor.


✔️Want to take control of their health

Google reports that, approximately one in twenty searches are health-related. It means, 280 million queries of the whopping 5.6 billion google searches getting fired every day, around the globe, are related to health!
Findings from a survey conducted by Pew Research Center states that 21% of the internet searches in healthcare are related to finding a doctor and searching for a hospital, which indicates that prospective visits to hospital websites are over 58 million visits per day. If we do a little math, by taking visits to visitors ratio, unique visits over a year, removing patients who land on aggregate portals like zocdoc, practo etc., it comes out to around 640 million visitors visiting hospitals’ websites annually, across the globe.


Hospitals know this fact, and they spend massive dollars on Digital Marketing, to the tune of $2.84 billion dollars by US Healthcare industry alone, in 2018. 

But still, the average bounce rate of hospital websites is 58%, the number of pages visited are less than 3, and the average time spent on site is less than 90 seconds.
Most of the educatory website pages are not even passed through by the patients.

Looking for more transparency:


People today want to take an active part in choosing the best for their health and the decisions on when, why and who. More than half (65 percent) of Millennials and 50 percent of Generation Z explore the information available online or on website to proceed with a specific treatment or doctor.

Without mobile-first patient engagement tools, discovery of the right doctor for their concerns, or finding out the right services for them and setting up outcome expectations are harder to meet. 



Conversations in Healthcare


Even today, over 60% of the appointments are booked by phone calls as unlike other domains, healthcare is driven by conversations. This is partially because of no realtime support available on the website, or Conversations give the convenience to convey the medical concerns, urgency or pain, get to the service of their choice and real time addressal to their queries. Which is why telephone lines are the most common way of communication. Over the website, close to 70% of the patients look for the hospital number and call up for appointments or their queries.

But relying on the reception or call centre driven patient lead conversions results to:
1)  Loss of many potential leads in the call overhead process

2) Lower conversion ratios: our case study shows 60% of the receptionist guided appointments have been directed to primary care physicians due to: A) lack of medical understanding of patient’s problems example an abdominal pain could potentially be treated by a Gastrosurgeon/gastroenterologist/gynecologist/urologist/colorectal surgeon/general physician B) time taking information fetching between different systems C) Inconsistency in the service (we know, we are all humans, we need to eat, go take our dogs to walk and get emotional sometimes)

3) More cost per patient service 

To facilitate these conversations online hospitals have been using live chat solutions like Zendesk. Where patients can chat in the natural conversational way just as in the hospital landline phone. The results of the live chat are quite poor approximately 2% of the overall site visitors even feel like interacting there mainly because:

a) the chat agents are unable to provide as prompt help as required.  75% of customers believe it takes too long to reach a live agent, takes way too much time to connect or revert on the basic things like availability of a doctor or on any medical query or help

b) 87% of the users say the chat support only takes in the personal details of patients and

unable to provide any support thereafter
c) About one in three people (30%) say the most important aspect of healthcare customer service is speaking with a medically knowledgeable and friendly agent. But none of these have been satisfied to much extent in healthcare so far.


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The bump in the road in healthcare: 

Chatbots could help reduce healthcare business costs by more than $8 billion per year by 2022 and drive business growth by increased patient experience. Chatbots are set to transform patient engagement, but there is a bump in the road that many are missing. So far they have all fizzled out in delivering any of these above.     
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“When it’s not personalized – automation becomes a blocker instead of a valid support method. ”

Therein lies the danger of poorly implemented automation. Seems funny but that is the support the chatbots have provided leaving the patients in stir as to what is wrong with the hospital and being left up without any help.
If your customers or patients get blocked by a chatbot, they’ll be just as frustrated as they were when you yelled at that phone menu of customer support. But this time, the risk is even greater, since it’s so much easier to move to another hospital or, tell friends about this unhelpful support, or both.

Such an automated support can lead to loss of business to your competitors with a bad word of mouth.

Not about multiple clickable boxes:

The problem is healthcare conversations are driven by carepathways which are interdependent on different factors and not about direct answers for queries. Example a simple query like "hairloss issues" which seems quite evident to be directed to a dermatologist can also be treated by Endocrinologist, Trichologist, Reproductive medicine specialist or a Paediatrician.  Healthcare chatbot it is not about training on some past chats and putting there the similar replies or content and neither about multiple options to choose and click from.
In healthcare every patient’s need is different, their medical problem is different, no two patients have the same body types, nor the same history nor the same treatment modalities or outcomes. A patient talking about appointment booking when showed options like:

leaves them confused with the doctor that could be the best for their concern and finally being referred by from one to another one leaves them frustrated with the whole process in healthcare. While on the other end using multiple clickable options which finally takes the patients to requesting an appointment is same as using a free of cost online request service which yields less than 1% conversion. 

PERSONALIZATION in healthcare is the KEY:

“When patients write in, the most personal thing we can do is to respect their time and get them to the right care path as quickly as possible”

                                                                                                 ---  Chief of Patient Service Transformation                                                                                                                                Providence St. Joseph Health

Configuring your hospital's personalised Chatbot:

For Enabling a successful patient care and business driven chatbot for hospitals these are the prerequisites :


Serving the 4 PRIME patient needs and medical transaction cases in healthcare is the win win for your patients and your hospital:

a) appointments with right doctor example 


b) booking right services like health checkups or diagnostic tests


c) resolving insurance related queries or others


d) ability to reschedule appointments with an intelligence of which ones can be changed and which not


For all of these here, the enabler is the technology which allows the patients to interact and a way to understand the context to be able to follow the right path to the meaningful transaction.

Hospitals would need to choose wisely on this particular technology to ensure the overall success of the project.

Some of the technologies which can enable such a conversation are:


  1. Natural language understanding technology which is able to understand layman way of saying medical words

  2. Triaging technology which is able to decipher the right doctor within 4-5 questions

  3. Operational understanding algorithms which are able to understand the skill set and preferences of doctors, insurance policies and the speciality centres 

  4. Ability of technology for interoperability between hospital systems

  5. Image recognition for identifying the reports or insurances etc

  6. Automation technologies to manage the administrative tasks associated with these business transactions to avoid any duplicate bookings by the staff and the bot.


Configuring the real-time assistance engine like a chatbot in healthcare is quite different from any other domains and which is why choosing healthcare relevant providers for such a chatbot project is essential for the success.

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The new benchmark:

“If your hospital chatbot project is not saving you on at least a few full
time staff or unable to generate incremental revenues on greater lead
conversions why waste resources, energy and money on any chatbot then?”


                                                                                                                          ----  Shabeer Ahmed (healthcare influencer Dubai )

Using contextual medical intelligence has led to some pretty big wins for some of our customers.

Too good to be true? But yes,’s Hospital AI Assistant solutions has proven with some of the biggest hospitals:

  1. 28% conversion rate as compared to humans typically at (4-5%) meaning a greater footfall at your centres

  2. 20% Reduction in phone calls to hospitals - indicating that patients are getting the help online 

  3. Saving operational cost of 18 full time staff on care coordination, frontline management and admin tasks per month

  4. 8x more patient engagement as compared to any solution (live chat, human agents talking etc)

Praktice is pathleading in enhancing care using Virtual AI Assistants with it’s Medical Artificial intelligence technology which incorporates both the intelligence of your hospital operations employees and the medical understanding of general physicians to guide patients in the most apt way any time.

The promise of chatbots in healthcare is attractive: enable better care at scale. And the most progressive hospitals aren’t waiting to get started. They’re using chatbots to accelerate care delivery and deliver immediate value to patients .

Sixty-one percent of healthcare consumers said they would likely use an AI health assistant to help them estimate healthcare costs, schedule appointments or explain coverage, according to a survey Accenture released last year.  Healthcare leaders like Brian, when asked about the most effective ways he’s seen bots being used:


“A chatbot can be used to help in virtually every conceivable way and metric to enable better healthcare delivery.”

- Brian Kalis (Managing director of digital health)
  Accenture Healthcare

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