Are Patients Engaging With Your Blog? AI Can Help
Blogging is an ideal way to draw attention to your medical practice, but are your clients actually reading your posts? Too often, we work hard to develop engaging content, only to have readers scroll right past. By employing AI as part of your medical blog, however, you can increase engagement and boost client participation at your practice and even put readers on the path to greater wellness.
Blogs And Bots
Bots are playing a growing role in the blogging ecosystem, and one of their prime advantages is that they help make generic blog content more personal. One weather bot provides local three-day forecasts, while CNN uses bots to provide news digests, and people feel comfortable with these bots because they use interfaces similar to Facebook Messenger or Telegram. But what role might bots play on a healthcare site? There are several likely possibilities.
The most likely use of bots on healthcare blogs is as a way to triage patients, schedule appointments, and connect readers with appropriate services and resources. Though patients express reticence about using a bot for actual medical interactions at this point, 61% say they would use a virtual assistant for financial transactions or to book appointments. More than half of patients would also consider such a service for wellness coaching or chronic illness support, but there are also significant concerns about bots and medical privacy.
HIPAA Goes High Tech
One of the most common complaints about healthcare communication and associated services is that medicine is simply behind – doctors are the only people who still rely heavily on fax machines. But there’s a good reason for healthcare to use such old-fashioned technology, and it all comes down to privacy. HIPAA has strict requirements for any and all communication regarding patients and it’s taken years to reach the point where email has any role in healthcare communication. But those programs also provide a model for using bots on medical blogs and other healthcare-related settings.
So what are the baseline requirements for digital patient communications? According to Virtru, providers of a Google Drive encryption solution, HIPAA requires what it terms “reasonable safeguards” for all digital communication. That includes encrypting emails sent to patients and employing identity verification protocols before releasing any information.
Streamlining With AI
At this juncture, most healthcare AI is used behind the scenes; there are programs that can assess scans and others that evaluate patient surveys and symptom forms, but some practices have found ways to put them to work on the front end. At one practice, patients received a chatbot-based campaign encouraging people to get their flu shots. Mail, email, and phone campaigns on the topic had about a 1% engagement rate, but chat messages fared much better. Patients read the messages and answers arrived much more quickly, and since the inquiry isn’t covered by HIPAA, the campaign was simple to execute.
More advanced AI communication will take time, but since healthcare accounts for 18% of all US economic output, there’s a serious incentive for companies to get behind such projects. With proper design and the type of end-to-end encryption already employed by iMessage, chatbots could be ready for your healthcare blog in no time.
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