A major item in scoring a health care organization is patient engagement. That is, patients are more likely to give a higher rating if they have some way to communicate to an organization with as little friction as possible. Improving the patient engagement experience can also improve patient outcomes — the hope is to do it affordably. Artificial intelligence (AI) powered health agents, also known as “chatbots,” can engage patients 24/7, using different languages, and at very low cost. These AI agents can assist healthcare organizations across a variety of use cases, for example:
- Check and triage patient symptoms using established medical protocols.
- Look up medical information about conditions, symptoms, causes, and complications.
- Find healthcare providers to consult with for specific patient conditions.
- Answer health plan inquiries, for example checking member eligibility.
- Schedule patient appointments with healthcare providers.
Read on for an overview of powerful cloud-based tools you can use to rapidly create and deploy your AI powered health agents in Microsoft Azure.
Rapid development and deployment to the cloud
The primary service to rapidly develop and deploy your new chatbot is the Azure Health Bot Service. This is a service that includes a visual editor for customizing bots that communicate using Natural Language Processing (NLP), which supports both text and voice interactions. Using its visual designer tool, administrators can create custom “conversation scenarios” to support the most complex and intricate requirements. These conversation scenarios are stored on the Azure cloud and power the Health Bot Service. Conversations can also be configured to use HealthNavigator content — an extensive and credible source of medical knowledge. To support text chat with your users requires an open source web chat client. Conversations can integrate with your applications, or applications of third parties via secure HTTPS calls to their API’s. Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) support is also available, enabling your conversations to interact with patient Electronic Medical Records (EMRs).
Privacy, security, and compliance
The Health Bot Service supports HIPAA compliance, and is in the process being enhanced to also support ISO 27001 and ISO 27018 compliance. Built on Microsoft Azure, your AI powered health agent can also benefit from the vast array of compliance frameworks. On Azure you also have powerful security tools to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your sensitive information and systems. The security extends to protect the privacy of patients, family caregivers, and healthcare professionals.
Start today with the Health Bot Overview, and access quick-starts, concepts, how-to guides, and additional resources. For further information on use cases, value propositions, and how to get started with AI in healthcare, see the AI in Healthcare Guide.
What other use cases, challenges, and solutions are you seeing for AI powered health agents? We welcome any feedback or questions you may have below. AI in healthcare is a fast-moving field. New developments are emerging daily. Many of these new developments are not things you can read about yet in a textbook. I post daily about these new developments and solutions in healthcare, AI, cloud computing, security, privacy, and compliance on social media. Reach out to connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.