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Healthcare Industry Gearing up to Adopt AI-based Chatbot Technology

While artificial intelligence (AI) technology based chatbot is making its presence felt in many different sectors in India like banking, insurance, FMCG to name a few, it is yet to make an impact in the healthcare industry. Healthcare sector can be roughly divided into three categories – pharmaceutical industry, diagnostic centers and hospitals and doctors. While pharmaceutical companies are ahead of diagnostic centers, doctors and healthcare facilities in adoption of chatbot, they are still far behind in companies of other segments. Deployment of chatbot at an organization reduces 20-55 percent customer support cost. In pharmaceutical industry, reduction in customer service expense stands at 20 percent, said Kartik Poddar, business head at Haptik, an AI based chatbot.

Chatbots are great at providing instant answers to urgent queries. In healthcare sector a customer needs immediate access to healthcare service providers but a number of healthcare facilities lack robust customer friendly system. A chatbot can help them become consumer friendly thereby enhancing their revenue, he added. With rising awareness among industry players about importance of chatbot over the last couple of years, the healthcare industry is gearing to deploy AI based chatbot to reach out to stakeholders in a smooth manner and improve productivity. Talking about vital role of chatbot in pharmaceutical industry’s marketing initiative, he said, “To drive the sales, marketing representatives of pharmaceutical companies are required to reach out to doctors. For this, they can take help of chatbot to figure out doctors whom they need to reach to achieve target.”

Besides marketing representatives, pharma companies can also deploy chatbot to engage doctors. It helps medical professionals get information about company’s new drug launch, its incentives and schemes, difference between varied drugs. Considering the high attrition of medical representatives and their training expense, chatbot is a feasible option for drug companies, he opined. In diagnostic segment, the chatbot lets users instantly check the status of their pending medical reports, finds nearby pathology centers, shows test information and price and enables faster query resolution by guiding the user through every step. For hospitals, chatbot has a great role to play. It can answer all types of patient questions about a specific diseases and check doctors’ timing, availability and book their appointment.  Apart from private healthcare organizations, the government is also keen to adopt AI based chatbot to disseminate their various schemes including healthcare plans among people at large. It empowers them to access welfare services hassle free, said Poddar, confirming that two state governments are in talks with them to deploy chatbot.

“Over four and a half years operation, Haptik has raised close to USD 13 million investment. In April 2016, Times Internet led a Series B round of investment in Haptik worth over USD 10 million while in 2014, it had raised USD 1 million in its Series A round from Kalaari Capital and other angel investors. We are investing a lot in technology and platform such being voice ready. Instead of chatting people can now talk to bot and get their queries resolved. We are also investing a lot in language support. Apart from English, we are developing bot in Marathi, Hindi and 10 other Indian languages. We have 50 customers and planning to raise customer base in India and penetrate in international market such as USA and South East Asia. We have deployed 100 bots and processed 1 billion chats so far. Bot templates are being built for common use services- customer support, lead generation, which help us deploy chatbot faster,” added Haptik business head. – PharmaBiz

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