Each month Google finds answers to 1.5 bn searches in the medical sphere. This topic appears one of the most popular on the net but users are likely to get confused by popular advice and pseudoscientific articles. They spend loads of time to find the needed information. To make things worse, misleading articles can provoke health deterioration. That is why we need medical chatbots nowadays.
The project provides an opportunity of online professional advice by general practitioners. At a conventional hospital with 10 or 20 duty doctors, you have to register in advance and wait in a queue. In contrast, the chatbot offers services of 50000 medical experts.
There are a lot of similar services across the globe. On icliniq.com, you can store patients’ medical records, receive audio- and video advice, upload files as well as make an appointment with a doctor. The service employs 300 doctors from the U. S., Germany, the UK, Singapore, etc.
Another online medical service iTriage allows to check symptoms, find out a summary of product characteristics and draw a treatment plan. You can also search for the nearest healthcare centers as well as manage personal medical data.
Notwithstanding, chatbots are more user-friendly than medical apps since they take no place in your gadget and requires no face-to-face communication with a doctor.
Russia can boast about its home products in this sphere: a mobile clinic Doc+ has developed a chatbot collecting patients’ medical records, which normally takes near 60% of a medical examination. Due to the app’s algorithms, you spend less time on a visit to a doctor who can concentrate on diagnostics and treatment.
Some specialist ensure that in the future, chatbots would substitute apps, particularly George Fomichev who founded Endurance Robots, a company that creates practical technologies in the field of robotics. At M-Health Congress, he will dwell on the prospects of using chatbots for disease treatment and prophylaxis as well as explain why chatbots can take the place of apps.
George Fomichev will dedicate his presentation to chatbots in healthcare. We asked the speaker several related questions.
George, can a modern chatbot take into account all the nuances of the patient’s state and detect even the slightest symptoms of a disease?
Unfortunately, today it remains only a dream. Let’s remember that chatbots are a kind of the first support line. Undoubtedly, they can detect one or another problem of a patient during a conversation but only a professional doctor is capable of making conclusions at this stage.
We are working on more complex algorithms, which requires Big Data. The point is that any unclarity in patient’s answers could be caused by not only a disorder but also misunderstanding of the chatbot. Here we can mention other reasons such as fatigue, for example.
According to your forecast, when will we have such a developed chatbot so that disease diagnostics and treatment could be carried out without real doctors?
I predict it will take at least 5-10 years for the technology to develop out of its infancy. Let’s keep in mind that before prescribing drugs, a doctor examines a lot of aspects and only then makes a decision. Right now, chatbots could be actively applied for prophylaxis but they still are not developed enough to order treatment. By the way, several American colleagues boast that IBM Watson-based AI is better at cancer treatment than doctors are. That is what has a big potential since treatment of this disease requires MANY factors. Here, a robot has more possibilities so the task is to train it to process qualitative data.
Is users’ confidence in chatbots growing? Do they trust medical assistants nowadays?
Allegedly, yes. We witness that different companies are developing and integrating chatbots. The laboratory Invitro made a request for a related product. We conducted negotiations and presented a project for Bayer. No doubt, the trend is winning the market presence and many businesses, including pharmaceutical, pay special attention to this technology.
What are advantages of a chatbot compared to online advice by a doctor?
First of all, it’s speed: dozens, hundreds and thousands of people can be simultaneously consulted by one chatbot.
Second, one can constantly train a chatbot, upload new solutions and improve the existing ones.
Surely, real doctors will not lose their popularity. The question is prices that are likely to rise.
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