Image: Annual cost savings derived from the adoption of chatbots in healthcare could reach USD 3.6 billion globally by 2022 (Photo courtesy of iStock).
Annual cost savings derived from the adoption of chatbots in healthcare could reach USD 3.6 billion globally by 2022, up from an estimated USD 2.8 million in 2017, marking an average growth of 320% per annum, as AI (artificial intelligence) powered chatbots will drive improved customer experiences for patients. Patients will be able to use sophisticated chatbot systems to access care more quickly and easily, thereby improving access to care and reducing pressure on overworked healthcare systems by ensuring more efficient interactions.
These are the latest findings of Juniper Research (Hampshire, UK), a provider of research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector.
Chatbots, when used to triage patients, can have a dramatic impact on healthcare efficiency. However, chatbots face significant challenges in developed healthcare systems, such as those in the US and UK. Systems in a mature stage of development are usually more conservative in introducing new technology than others, thus resulting in inefficient care. This conservatism is expected to slow down the adoption of chatbot in comparison to the emerging markets such as China and India, where small-scale deployments are already taking place.
Over the next five years, chatbot deployment will be dominated by the Far East and China, with over half of the annual savings realized by chatbots to be contributed by this region in 2022. The varied quality of care in countries such as China will make chatbots useful for directing patients to appropriate services, thereby driving their adoption.
Service providers need to focus on overcoming the current poor level of interoperability of many healthcare IT systems in order to enable chatbots to unlock the full benefits possible. Additionally, data security also remains critical for maintaining patient trust.