How to Think About Healthcare Chatbots

One of the most exciting areas of healthcare IT is the automation of so many of the mundane tasks that exist in healthcare.  In many cases, our first efforts in this regard were to outsource these mundane tasks, but now healthcare AI and other things like robotic process automation (RPA) have come along to help healthcare organizations make so many mundane processes more efficient and effective using technology.

The healthcare chatbot is a big portion of this effort and we’re starting to see chatbots spring up all over healthcare.  Everything from checking someone in for a COVID vaccine to symptom checkers to remote patient monitoring chatbots that collect health information.  Needless to say, many processes in healthcare will be automated using a healthcare chatbot.

We recently had a chance to talk with Greg Johnsen, CEO of LifeLink, to learn about their work with chatbots in healthcare.  We ask Johnsen if patients are scared of chatbots and if they trust a chatbot or not.  Plus, we ask him to share where healthcare organizations are using a chatbot to automate processes.

In our discussion, Johnsen aptly points out that there are a wide variety of chatbots and so it’s not fair to group them all together.  For example, a chatbot that ensures a patient is properly prepared for a surgery is largely going by a pre-defined flow that was defined by the clinic and has very clear outcomes and pathways.  That’s a very different chatbot than say a symptom checker that could be asked anything and everything and needs to reply.  Both have their place in healthcare, but ensuring a great patient experience is much easier when it’s a largely predefined path than the open ended chat bot.

Check out the interview below to learn from Johnsen about chatbots in healthcare including how to handle a chatbot that is wrong.  Plus, we ask Johnsen how far can we take chatbots in healthcare.  Are there areas of healthcare that chatbots will never replace?  Johnsen shares a number of good ways for healthcare to think about chatbots.

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About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

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