In April 2022, WhatsApp had approximately 2.44 billion unique active users worldwide, up 6.4 percent compared to the corresponding month in 2021. WhatsApp is expected to reach over 2.26 billion unique users in June 2022. The popular instant messaging platform, which hit two billion monthly active users in February 2022, was the leading communication channel for global smartphone users in 2021
We’re interested in exploring the role of WhatsApp in healthcare today. Can this technical solution really add any value to the prickly world of healthcare? What opportunities will become available when implementing the WhatsApp Business Platform in your practice?
Why Choose WhatsApp in Healthcare?
Perhaps the question should be, why choose WhatsApp at all? As we noted at the outset, this simple, free messaging app enjoys massive consumer support and is both easy to adopt and use.
For the sake of clarity, however, let’s highlight some of the advantages of WhatsApp in business.
● Simple integration into your current tech stack
● Allows you to reach customers/patients wherever they are
● It offers a user-friendly platform that a majority of consumers are already familiar with
● Encourages fast two-way communication
● It offers multimedia support, links, lists, and so much more
● Allows for secure, time-sensitive notifications
● Offers a personalised user experience
Communication within healthcare is necessarily a delicate balance between efficiency and empathy. You’re dealing with people at their most vulnerable, which needs to be considered when implementing technical solutions that can sometimes feel cold and impersonal.
This fact alone points to the logical inclusion of Chatbots by making use of the Mobile Service Cloud available through CM.com. As people become more comfortable with Chatbots, these have proven surprisingly effective in relieving the stresses of imparting deeply personal information regarding their health. As an impartial piece of software, Chatbots are non-judgemental and precise, which may be just what the doctor ordered.
Putting WhatsApp to Work
Let’s see exactly how WhatsApp flexes its technological muscles in healthcare.
Almost every call to a healthcare provider is urgent. That is simply the nature of the business. What this means, though, is that the unfortunate souls who schedule appointments must manage the stress of dealing with anxious, often frightened patients, which can be difficult and exhausting.
WhatsApp automates quick and easy appointment scheduling for patients, lifting this burden off receptionists who can better assist the patients within their doors. Patients choose their own times and dates and enter their personal information with zero input from your team.
Additionally, this clever system allows them to reschedule appointments where necessary - again without tying up the phone lines.
Ordering Medicine & Arranging Scripts
By linking WhatsApp to your patient database, you have instant access to patient records. A Chatbot then offers your patients a secure, personalised self-service option to request medicine or scripts. All communication is date and time stamped and thoroughly secure, allowing very little room for error.
How much revenue does your practice lose each month from missed appointments? It’s a double whammy as you can’t charge the patient that had the appointment, but you didn’t schedule anyone else in that time slot.
Automating WhatsApp appointment reminders is a foolproof way to reduce the number of no-shows and offers a quick and easy way for patients to cancel if needed.
Gathering Patient Data for Analysis & Evaluating Symptoms
A FAQ Chatbot is a smart way to tackle common questions, even in the medical field. Chatbots can assist by directing patients to the right professional, offering basic advice following a series of questions, or even checking back in a couple of days to see if the symptoms remain.
However, it’s to be expected that most questions will require a fairly quick resolution. So, your chatbot should be governed to assess the nature and urgency of the query, gather the necessary data and hand off to a live agent as soon as possible. This medical data is saved securely to the patient’s records, and the whole process serves to lighten the load on your staff and expedite patient service.
Accounts and Medical Aid Payment Information
Dealing with medical aids, insurance, and account payments here in South Africa can be a real challenge. When integrated with your tech stack, WhatsApp slices through much of the hassle. From determining what medical aid your patients have, what it covers, and what their limits are to collecting and processing the required documentation, the entire process is simplified.
Chatbots can be programmed to securely share personal account information and update where necessary.
Reminders and Information Sharing
WhatsApp can also effortlessly automate important reminders such as updated scripts, reminders to take medication, or notifications when patients need to renew their prescriptions. Further, patients can share information on medication, side effects, or other treatments to a central repository which can assist both medical professionals and other patients.
Personalised, High-Quality Healthcare with CM.com
We’re certain that providing an enhanced user experience to your valued patients is right at the top of your priorities for the future. We’ve seen how WhatsApp effortlessly provides:
● A comfortable and familiar space to interact with your patients
● A personalised experience across multiple platforms
● A securely encrypted channel when communicating sensitive information
● Automated messaging and Chatbot implementation to cover peak periods effectively
Therefore, if you can connect WhatsApp to your systems of choice to offer a faster, more personalised service to your patients, relieve the administrative burden from your team, and streamline every element of your practice - wouldn’t you dive right in?