Implementation Plan for a New Economic Opportunity
Chatbot technologies in healthcare are a convenient method of ensuring that patients have access to all the healthcare information they need to be in charge of their care. According to Narayanamurthy (2018), the strategy allows healthcare organizations to implement evidence-based, patient-centered treatment by ensuring patients access accurate and well-researched information about self-care and various symptoms.
The program will link multidisciplinary teams, the public, and healthcare organizations to improve patient outcomes. Hospitals will be able to guarantee the reliability of health information that reaches their patients, and therefore, instances of misinformation will be eliminated (Walker-Roberts et al., 2018).
To implement the program, hospitals have to assess the costs of developing and updating the bot software to ensure consistent, readily available, and accurate information. This paper outlines the implementation plan for chatbot technology within a hospital setting.
Budget for the Proposed Initiative
Developing a chatbot will cost between $30000 to $50000 due to the system’s complexity required to provide services and interact with patients. This cost will include hiring an IT company that will develop the program and help train the staff on how to add information to the website and the mobile app. Healthcare providers will be trained to add information and answer Patient questions.
The chatbot also requires a mobile app development that significantly increases these costs. The ultimate costs will depend on how upgraded the hospitals want the chatbot to be and the level of interactions it will provide to customers. Hospitals need to ensure that they use the latest software to prevent bugs and other issues that may occur due to slow service.
The bot should be equipped with quality information on performing various first aid services before recommending the patients to the nearest hospital or connecting them with a specialist (Walker-Roberts et al., 2018). When developing one, it is essential to ensure adequate and accurate information on how to perform the basic first aid services and when to visit the doctor. The chatbot will also provide information on the direction of the hospital and the number to call to book appointments.
An assumption that this budget is based on is how the bot will work and the devices it will be connected to for patients to access it. For instance, if the chatbot will only be working from the computer devices, it will be much cheaper compared to whether it will need a mobile app to go with it. Additionally, including an executing AI engine with ML algorithms will significantly increase development costs (Xu et al., 2021).
Today, there are over 6.4 billion smartphone users worldwide. The average adult spends at least 3 hours on their smartphones each day in the US. Including a mobile feature with the chatbot is essential since it will allow the patients to access information right in their hands. Healthcare providers will also have access to the backend of the chatbot program and will be able to add information and communicate with patients and answer questions.
The projected earnings will be at least $2 million. Statistics show that the US healthcare chatbot industry works $41.0 million in revenue. This, coupled with the fact that patients today are being encouraged to make online appointments to prevent the spread of COVID 19, there is expected to be higher usage of the program.
Unfortunately, the fear of contracting COVID 19 has also led to self-diagnosis and increased over-the-counter medication use (Xu et al., 2021). Patents today are using information from online sources to self-diagnose. Due to the demand for accurate and reliable information, the chatbots will prevent unnecessary fear and hospitalization due to self-medication. The hospital will also benefit from higher patient satisfaction and a lower workload for the available staff.
Rolling out the Economic Initiative
The stakeholders involved in implementing the project include patients, hospital staff, IT teams, and community leaders. Patients and community members are the primary stakeholders because they will be the main users of the chatbots (Narayanamurthy 2018). Focusing on making the chatbots user-friendly means adding specific features to communicate with the patient effectively.
Minimizing the use of medical terms in the chatbot will allow the users to understand the conversation in a friendlier way to guarantee that the patient will keep looking into the chatbot. Chatbots will contain information on various illnesses, symptoms to look for, and when to call the doctor. There will also be information on the primary caregivers and how to contact them.
Since certain medical conditions present with similar symptoms, it is vital to ensure that the chatbots can distinguish between various illnesses. It should provide patients with enough information to understand their health needs, but not too much that the patients are unnecessarily scared.
As Xu et al. (2021) note, the chatbot should also distinguish between tasks meant for it to handle and when the complex nature of the problem requires a human operator. Users should ensure they have laid out primary considerations that inform the decision-making framework when there is a need for rapid events such as the spread of COVID 19.
Ensuring that the bot has a vast information resource will benefit the patients. It will also ensure credibility and patient comfort (Flemming et al., 2019). The chatbot feature should be easy enough to use by people who have experience with technology and those who are not tech-savvy.
Impact of the Proposed Initiative
The chatbot will be able to make diagnoses, consultations, and more to help patients experience the best healthcare services without queueing at the hospitals. The proposed initiative will make scheduling appointments easier, ensure accurate and timely collection of patient data and provide mental health support to patients.
The chatbots will also make it easier for people with disabilities, such as the deaf and blind, to access healthcare easily and without discrimination. Finally, the chatbot will eliminate redundancies within the hospital since the same data will not be collected several times.
Strategies for Ensuring the Viability of the Proposed Initiative
Physicians, nurses, patients, and their families have received help from chatbots or digital assistants to improve their medication management, organize patient pathways, and provide solutions for simpler medical issues and emergencies or first aid (Narayanamurthy 2018). The chatbots contain multiple features specifically designed to simplify the job for both the patients and healthcare workers.
It is, therefore, convenient to ensure that the bot has relevant materials that cover specific topics and focus on addressing particular issues. The chatbot should also contain a feature that directly connects the patients and respective clinicians to improve healthcare and save lives.
A study by Flemming et al. (2019) asserts that the use of bots in healthcare should guarantee a link between the physician and the patients and ensure that their work is simplified from time to time. This initiative reduces the number of patients visiting the hospital, hence allowing caregivers enough time to attend to the few patients who visit effectively (Walker-Roberts et al., 2018).
The caregivers are also protected against being exposed to infections as direct contact with patients is quite minimal. When the bot is critically equipped with essential information, the physician will not have to keep repeating or responding to patients with similar symptoms at different times.
Instead, the provided information will ensure to serve all the patients simultaneously (Xu et al., 2021). This also ensures that the patient will receive relevant information without the risk of having essential details omitted since the nurse or physician is overwhelmed while responding to various patients.
On the other hand, by providing patients with the necessary information that keeps them healthy without having to visit the hospital, the bot guarantees that the patient is comfortable, allowing the body enough time to rest and accelerate the recovery process (Narayanamurthy 2018).
According to Walker-Roberts et al. (2018), it also ensures that the patient and their relatives have all the necessary information to facilitate effective and natural recovery. Additionally, where applicable, the bot calculates the possibilities of connecting the patient to the nearest physicians in case the need to see one arises. With the use of a chatbot, the patient is assured of maximum privacy levels, and patient-doctor confidentiality is not compromised.
Relevance and Significance of the Qualitative and Quantitative Evidence
The hospital has to conduct an organized qualitative data collection to observe the relevance and significance of the quantitative and qualitative evidence of the chatbot. The collected data should contain at least three themes motivation of health chatbots, AI hesitancy, and understanding of the bot.
As per the report from most participants, the only information they hads about chatbots was through social media or in the customer service context but had zero information on how the chatbots operate technologically (Flemming et al., 2019). As a result, the majority of the study participants cannot recall the last time they used a bot or even their interest in utilizing one, particularly for healthcare services.
Despite their lack of awareness about chatbots, they acknowledge that the technology is developing and becoming more mainstream (Narayanamurthy 2018). The majority of participants in the AL hesitation were unsure whether or not to use chatbots as their primary healthcare option.
Thus, based on the assertions by Walker-Roberts et al. (2018), it is vital to ensure that it is accurate, trustworthy, and provides quality care for all its users when developing the bot. There should not be any significant difference between going to the hospital physically and using the bot for patients who are not critically in need of a physician.
Chatbots play a critical role in the healthcare industry, and they ensure that both physicians and patients can handle medical situations effectively. As broached in this paper, bots regulate patient flow in the hospital, reduce physicians’ workflow, and minimize the risks of infections for patients and physicians. However, for their effective use, it is imperative for hospitals to collect and analyze data relating to their efficiency prior to implementation.
Flemming, K., Booth, A., Garside, R., Tunçalp, Ö. & Noyes, J. (2019). Qualitative evidence synthesis for complex interventions and guideline development: clarification of the purpose, designs and relevant methods. BMJ Global Health, 4(Suppl 1), e000882. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2018-000882
Narayanamurthy, G., Gurumurthy, A., Subramanian, N., & Moser, R. (2018). Assessing the readiness to implement lean in healthcare institutions–A case study. International Journal of Production Economics, 197, 123-142. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpe.2017.12.028
Walker-Roberts, S., Hammoudeh, M., & Dehghantanha, A. (2018). A systematic review of the availability and efficacy of countermeasures to internal threats in healthcare critical infrastructure. IEEE Access, 6, 25167-25177.
Xu, L., Sanders, L., Li, K., & Chow, J. C. (2021). Chatbot for Health Care and Oncology Applications Using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Systematic Review. JMIR Cancer, 7(4), e27850. https://doi.org/10.2196/27850