How Chatbots can Benefit Pharma

Healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical companies are constantly looking for ways to improve customer service and change patient’s lives. To achieve this goal, pharma is taking advantage of the technological advancement of the 21st century by using, inter alia, chatbots.

What are Chatbots?

Chatbots are computer programs that use natural language processing (NLP) AI to conduct an “instant messaging” style conversation with the user. They are either text or voice-based and aim to mimic natural two-way human conversation. 

Companies are progressively turning to chatbots to do their replying and instant messaging and also gather data that will help them become more efficient over time. 

Chatbot technology has come a long way from the rather static limited versions consumers were first exposed to. This development is thanks to the gradual shift away from rules-based AI (where a chatbot responds according to pre-determined rule sets) to a fully realized natural language processing (NLP) implementation. This is how chatbots can learn and interact properly with customers.  

Chatbots’ responses are growing so fast that soon consumers won’t be able to distinguish human assistance from computer assistance. These capabilities are slowly finding their way into the pharma industry.

How is Chatbots Being Integrated into Pharma?

The pharmaceutical industry involves human lives, which is precisely why great care is taken when inputting responses into chatbots. Any responses fed into chatbots systems have to be examined and cleared by a board of certified medical professionals.

The bots must also comply with data privacy laws to ensure patients data remains private or anonymous to prevent them harm.

Benefits of Chatbots to Pharma

When it comes to customer service and marketing, the benefits of chatbots are innumerable. The main ones are set out below:

  1. Help to Reduce the Demand on HCPs: Consumer questions are usually along the line of dosages, healthcare, and other simple issues. If a chatbot can reply to these questions perfectly and almost instantly that is a great benefit. This would help to reduce HCPs workload. 
  2. Help to Create Patient Support on Demand: Pharmaceutical companies manage many unforeseen situations at the expense of patient’s enquiries. The long delay of reply has led to poor customer support and frustrations. This problem can be fixed easily with a bot. A bot can quickly reply to these questions helping to create patient support on demand. 

In fact, some firms have already adopted chatbots:

  • Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic® App for patients with Type 2 diabetes.
  • Ava’, a chatbot developed by Earthware for Norgine, which aims to maximize successful colonoscopy rates by providing patients with answers about the procedure and their bowel preparation.
  • Earthware created Braltusbot for Teva, a chatbot for HCPs on the UK Braltus website in 2018.

Chatbots are very beneficial to healthcare as a whole, and in a few more years they shall lead the forefront of automated customer responses.

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