First there was Eliza. Developed in the 1960s, Eliza was a psychotherapist bot that would recognize keywords as they were typed, mirror them back to the user – and then ask how he or she felt about what they were typing. It was a concept that proved people can connect with machines that respond to user input.
Bots have come a long way since then, from the chatter bots of ALICE to Cleverbot, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to communicate with humans. Charting the evolution of bots has been like watching a child grow, developing first simple and then complex understanding and capabilities. Now in their “adolescence” – capable of sophisticated, contextual content delivery and natural language speech – bots are in hot demand.
In the world of online retail, bot-aided shopping, messaging and engagement are increasingly commonplace. Basic question-answer bots abound for simple product transactions, such as ordering a pizza, shopping for clothes or electronics, or even teaching people how to apply mascara. These bots deliver content and drive a retail experience. But the future of bots – and bots in consumer healthcare in particular – will need to do much more. They’ll need to create relationships; drive the consumer experience; predict and resolve gaps in the PatientConsumer® journey – and do so relatively seamlessly across multiple channels.
Current bots in healthcare
Presenting considerable medical, legal and regulatory challenges, bots are just starting to surface in healthcare. But interesting solutions like the U.K.’s your.md, which allows for pre-screening before meeting with a healthcare provider, are evidence that the opportunity is starting to take shape.
Bots that are capable of natural language speech and text communication offer the potential to build relationships with PatientConsumers®. These relationships, enhanced by AI, will allow bots to understand the meaning behind raw and interaction-based health data, and respond with various levels of informative, supportive and, not surprisingly, prescriptive communications.
In fact, even today, well-designed bots can help individuals resolve common issues, contribute to smart decision-making and build loyal relationships over time.
In healthcare, where doctors are becoming more and more inaccessible to PatientConsumers®, support by way of technology can improve the entire journey.
Enter the hybrid bot experience
The hybrid bot experience is defined by interactions that merge the bot’s limited natural language and content delivery capabilities in order to develop relationships with PatientConsumers®. The interactions are delivered through multiple channels (Facebook, SMS, Alexa), using design elements that draw on evidence and empathy-based perspectives.
This draws on the insight that, for example, PatientConsumers® who are trying to lower their A1c levels will need more than daily notifications. Nurturing a lasting commitment to new, compliant behaviours requires trusted support; and conversations, not canned messages.
How do we do it?
- Ground the experience in the journey and the data. In healthcare, the strength of bots lies in their ability to tailor experiences to the needs of the PatientConsumer® and the brand. For example, by identifying gaps in the PatientConsumer® journey, from treatment initiation to ongoing adherence, bots can predict and attempt to prevent drop off through targeted interactions – offering encouragement, reminders or information to help PatientConsumers® get back on track.
- Create rich content. Start by auditing your brand’s existing content to identify gaps and inject information that resonates with your audience – whether it’s about the weather, lifestyle or stress relievers, each item is an opportunity to leverage the strength of bots in asset and content delivery.
- Develop behavioural modelling. No simple feat, these are key: Trend-based algorithms that enable bots to identify which behaviours drive or correlate with engagement, adherence, and reduced switch-risk, and what factors contribute to a patient’s engagement with their medications, providers and overall healthcare.
- Overcome the AE hurdle. While adverse event reporting is becoming increasingly manageable, the direct human-computer interactions in which bots engage drive a need to manage these situations more compassionately.
- Track responses and measure results. Whether at the aggregate or individual level, success can ultimately be linked directly to therapeutic compliance and health outcomes: improved symptom control and better management of the condition, more repeated scripts or increased product usage.
Real potential for positive change
While bots may be a novel addition to the healthcare landscape with gaps to be resolved, they present a clear opportunity to lead and innovate. Simply, bots offer supportive, non-prescriptive interactions that are low-risk and high-impact – and capable of driving significant positive change for the PatientConsumer® and the brand.
A bot without a strategy is not recommended – and the time is now to get ahead of the curve.
Wanna chat about bots?
Contact Memotext and Ariad Health/Bluespire Marketing
At MEMOTEXT® our goal is to make health data useful, empower patients to reach their healthcare goals and improve the bottom line for healthcare stakeholders. A combination of technology, communications and design excellence, we build evidence-based, AI and algorithmically driven digital health, engagement and adherence programs. Validated in several clinical and commercial settings, MEMOTEXT has been shown to increase adherence, extend engagement and improve treatment initiation. Visit: www.memotext.com or contact Amos Adler @ 877.MEMO.TXT
At ARIAD HEALTH and BLUESPIRE, we are a strategic marketing agency with deep digital expertise, focused on delivering engaging content and creative through an omni-channel experience. Our expertise sits in 2 areas of business that are quickly changing and are in need of different approaches that can keep up with today’s market: (1) the PatientConsumer® and (2) the Professional. We also rely on a strong network of leading partners in the tech & research arenas such as MEMOTEXT, Salesforce, Sitecore, Forrester, Kentico, Telus Health, QHR, etc. that allow us to identify new models/new ways of thinking about our clients’ businesses, and new opportunities for them to pursue. Visit: www.ariadhealth.com or contact Donna Hui (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Richard Marcil (email@example.com)
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