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Andre Daoud

Medcare launches chatbots to assist patients

DUBAI, April 1, 2019

Medcare Hospitals and Medical Centres (Medcare), the premium healthcare division of Aster DM Healthcare, has launched its new “virtual health assistant” chatbots to improve the way patients in the UAE region access healthcare services.

The two new health assistants use advanced artificial intelligence (AI)algorithms to learn about the patient in order to personalise responses and give accurate information in real-time.

Distinctive technology means that the Medcare health assistants are the first and only chatbots in the region that allow the patient to manage all aspects of their appointments online including booking, rescheduling and cancelling, permitted by real-time backend database integration.

The new technology is also being continually optimized by developers to set it far ahead of competitors; key IT, marketing, call centre and operation stakeholders collaborated in designing the enhanced user journey to ensure a holistic, 360° approach.

Medcare market research found 41 per cent of patients indicated the need for an end-to-end online solution that enables and empowers them to take control of their personal healthcare journey.  Real-time database integrations, AI and machine learning have been merged to produce a top-of-the-line chatbot platform with turn-key implementation that has been built upon market predecessors, combining best practices and patient feedback to ensure the Medcare chatbots are more advanced and fully optimized to make the best use of available technology.

The most distinctive feature of the chatbot technology is that it has been humanized to make the health assistants intuitive, patient-centric and patient-friendly. Patients will be able to “talk” to the health assistants and use this new platform throughout their entire healthcare journey.

Patients can book, reschedule and cancel appointments online. An advanced algorithm will enable patients to check and analyze their symptoms and match them with the relevant doctor, specialty and Medcare facility location.

Patients can also see lab reports online, check insurance coverage at their convenience and locate the nearest Medcare centre to ultimately optimize the patient journey to receive timely treatment. The new Medcare health assistant AI technologies hold real value in reducing the burden on doctors in primary and secondary care by allowing better organisation of patient pathways and by offering real-time solutions for medical issues.

Recent reports suggest healthcare chatbot interactions will grow to reach 2.8 billion by 2023.  Moreover, market research has found the global healthcare chatbot market which was valued at $123 million in 2018 is expected to generate around $470 million by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 21.2 per cent. The dramatic growth in use of AI and chatbots is expected to be reflected in an increase in the UAE region in particular, due to a high percentage of internet users, increasing digital awareness and government investment into healthcare infrastructure.

Alisha Moopen, executive director and CEO, Aster & Medcare Hospitals and Clinics, GCC said: “In life, getting to a doctor when you are sick is a stressful experience. When you add to the experience having to call a call centre to schedule an appointment; it’s very frustrating.”

“We, at Medcare, try to put ourselves in the shoes of our patients and to and create an environment, a solution and a system that helps and enables you to have the right information at the right time to help take care of your healthcare needs. We give the power to our patients to make life a bit easier for them in this hectic fast paced world.

“Today’s empowered healthcare consumer expects technologies to meet them where they are. It is up to healthcare providers to recognise this, integrate capabilities and employ the latest digital technologies available. The advantage with chatbot technology is the ability to combine both human and artificial intelligence to transform customer service, providing an overall seamless experience with optimised productivity and outcome,” she continued.

Andre Daoud, Group chief executive officer of Medcare Hospitals and Medical Centres, said: “At Medcare, we continually strive to explore new ways to integrate technology and support the effective care of our patients.”

“We keep our patients at the centre of everything we do, especially in the development of digital tools and services, by running focus groups to understand patient needs and identify any gaps in the healthcare market. Our chatbots were developed as our patients indicated the need for an end-to-end online solution that empowers them to take control of their personal healthcare journey. The chatbots are even being named by our patients through a contest, so they have a real sense of ownership on this project.”

“Our Medcare chatbots are set apart from competitors in the healthcare market as we are implementing novel technology and real-time backend database integration, meaning we are able to offer our patients an advanced end-to-end, patient-centric solution. Other healthcare chatbots in the region only permit appointment requests without real-time integration, so our chatbots are really going to be game-changing,” noted Daoud.

“Chatbots and artificial intelligence technology are proving to have huge potential in aiding medical assistance and transforming the healthcare sector,” he ended. – TradeArabia News Service




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