Breaking processes and overwhelmed help lines with chatbots and other digital technologies.
COVID-19’s impact has surprised all and very few can claim they were fully prepared. The news and updates are rolling and government measures are continuously being updated.
What about putting people in technical unemployment with a special premium system? Great idea, but the administrative process hasn’t been digitised and is breaking under the large number of requests.
What about questions to first-line healthcare providers and doctors? The sheer number of telephone conversations they’re having has a real impact on their efficiency.
Tell people to work from home? Another great idea, but appropriate online collaboration tools need to be available and properly set up.
There are a string of technologies available that can quickly help tackle some of the bottlenecks. Let’s look at some examples.
- Offload work for first-line healthcare agents and doctors who are receiving a lot of standard questions: Many of these questions could potentially be answered by a chatbot, leaving medical personnel, doctors and call centre agents more time to deal with exceptions and special requests. Some hospitals are already doing this via cloud services that offer an online screening tool. When still needed, patients can get immediate treatment or have a video/phone consultation with a doctor to define next steps.
- Speed up the screening process for potential patients by collecting the information for the screening process (so you can also apply analytics and see patterns) via chatbot, mobile app or portal tools: Healthcare professionals can then focus on the outcome instead of collection and undertake a proper assessment and triage of patients. Potential patients can already receive first recommendations and actions to take. Many hospitals, like OSF Healthcare (https://www.osfhealthcare.org/covid19/), are already doing this. Telemedicine in general can give many quick access to the right information without interfering with doctors’ crucial activities, and that 24/7. Providence St. Joseph Health is helping people determine their coronavirus risk with a chatbot-based screening tool.
- Accelerate administrative aid processes: Many governments have announced aids and measures to help individuals and businesses financially and to apply for certain unemployment statuses. However, until now, the processes either didn’t exist or weren’t digitised. Again, solutions like mobile apps, chatbots and RPA (robotic process automation) can help quickly bridge this gap and enable agencies to deal with the significant inflow of requests. The government of Singapore, for example, has created a chatbot (https://www.mti.gov.sg/Chatbot/chat) to help it navigate and constantly be up to date with different aspects concerning individuals and businesses.
This can be a very relevant solution to helping navigate rapidly changing measures.