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Healthcare chatbot interactions will reach 2.8bn a year by 2023

Tim Maytom

Consumer engagement with healthcare chatbots is set to explode as AI-powered messaging bots become the first responders for a variety of healthcare needs and providers increasingly seek to automate their processes, according to new findings from Juniper Research. The number of chatbot interactions focused on healthcare is set to jump to 2.8bn annually by 2023, up from an estimated 21m in 2018, for an average annual growth rate of 167 per cent.

The study by Juniper Research found that consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable using chatbots to discuss their healthcare requirements, while healthcare providers are more likely to consider chatbots as an important component of their customer experience strategy.

This is especially true in regions with aging populations, where growing pressure on healthcare providers will increase the need for automation. For example, the German government predicts it will need 3m more nurses by 2060 as citizens live longer.

As conversational AI platforms become more sophisticated, a greater percentage of enquiries can be completed entirely via chatbots, freeing up medical staff time and saving countries' healthcare systems around $3.7bn (£2.9bn) by 2023.

"Chatbots have the potential to transform the way in which patients engage with their healthcare systems and go some way to take the pressure off overstretched staff," said Michael Larner, author of the research. "But if deployments are not backed up by investment in record keeping, then financial and time savings will evaporate."