By Kara-Marie Hall BSN RN
Senior Reporter
March 14, 2022

9 minutes to read

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    What is Chatbot Scripting?

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    As a freelance nurse writer, it’s wise to keep your pulse on healthcare’s hottest trends. One of these trends includes the rise of chatbots, or software applications that carry out chat conversations with users – such as app users and website visitors. In this article, we dive into chatbots and why nurse writers should pay close attention to this growing industry.   

    Chatbots are a growing trend in healthcare 

    You may have already seen a chatbot before, lurking in the corner of a website and asking you a question, such as “Can I help you with anything?” 

    Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots are becoming more sophisticated and detailed. In fact, many chatbots can pick up on subtleties like dialects, uncommon vocabulary, and tone. Given these advances, it’s estimated that healthcare chatbot technology will reach approximately $498 million in revenue by 2029. 

    Why is the healthcare industry willing to spend so much money on chatbots? Here are three reasons why: 

    To catch up with other industries

    Healthcare is becoming more consumerized like retail and banking. As a result, consumers have a lot of autonomy when it comes to choosing healthcare services and providers. What’s more, many consumers are accustomed to getting things done almost instantly through technologies like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Chatbots allow healthcare providers to give consumers the assistance they’re looking for — when they need it. 

    To save on healthcare costs 

    Every year, the United States spends around $3 trillion dollars on healthcare. With more people living longer and potentially needing frequent healthcare, this cost is likely to increase. The good news is that chatbots can perform some of the mundane tasks performed by humans (such as appointment scheduling) to help the industry save on costs and create greater efficiency. 

    To reduce the shortage of healthcare professionals

    The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted not only the nation’s ongoing nursing shortage but also the physician shortage. Chatbots can help with this burden by facilitating many customer service tasks, thereby allowing healthcare professionals to focus more on patient care.

    How chatbots are used in healthcare 

    The healthcare industry continues to find different ways to leverage chatbots, including:  

    Triaging and giving advice

    Patients often turn to Google when seeking guidance on a symptom or condition. However, the Internet can be ripe with misinformation. To combat this, many healthcare organizations are using triage chatbots, called “symptom checkers,” that ask patients what symptoms they’re experiencing. Afterwards, the chatbot can tell the patient what to do next, whether it’s going to an urgent care, emergency room, or their primary care physician. 

    Triage chatbots can also provide further information about the patient’s symptoms. For example, a patient with a cold or flu may receive symptom management information from the health organization itself or a credible source (e.g., the National Institutes of Health). 

    Finding healthcare services and providers

    Sometimes, when patients need care, they don’t know where to start. Healthcare chatbots can help patients find the nearest provider for their particular need. This provider may be a hospital, clinic, or even a specialist. Chatbots can also answer common questions regarding providers, such as business hours, services offered, and insurance coverage. 

    Raising awareness 

    Chatbots can sound the alarm on growing public health concerns. Take the COVID-19 pandemic, for example. Several healthcare organizations used chatbots to provide information on staying safe, as well as next steps to take if you tested positive for the virus. 

    Nurse writers can create excellent chatbot scripts  

    Since chatbots are robots, they need to be told what to say. As easy as this sounds, it’s actually quite a challenge in healthcare, where trust and empathy are paramount. If a conversation seems too stilted or robotic, organizations risk losing their patients’ trust. What’s more, if patients perceive they’re not getting the necessary information, they may stop engaging with the app or website altogether. 

    That’s where you come in. As a nurse writer, you can offer your prospects chatbot scripting, so they put the right words in the chatbot’s “mouth.” 

    First of all, nurses understand triage. They can map a chatbot script to move appropriately from Point A to Point B, C, or D – depending on the responses provided by the patient. For example, a nurse understands if a person engaging with a chatbot reports symptoms of headache without fever, that person could be advised to take acetaminophin, but if that person reports headache without fever but with sudden one-sided weakness, they need to call 911 for a possible stroke. The companies that provide chatbot technology wouldn’t know that. They rely on nurses and other clinicians to map these pathways.

    Furthermore, nurse writers understand how to break down complex information in a way patients will understand through a chatbot message. Also, because nurses often are skilled in empathy, they know how to engage a patient and use the right tone and speech to gain trust and loyalty. 

    In the end, health organizations need to connect with patients effectively. With your help, they can utilize chatbots more effectively to achieve stronger relationships with patients. 

    If you’re interested in chatbot scripting, you can start reaching out to health technology companies, particularly those in the app market. With the digital health market estimated to reach $220.94 billion by 2026, you’ll likely find a prospect interested in chatbot scripting services. 

    What are your thoughts on chatbot scripting? Let us know on our social media channels. 

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    Kara-Marie Hall BSN RN

    Kara-Marie Hall is a healthcare writer and registered nurse who writes B2B & B2C copy for various niches, including pharma, digital health, consumer health, and healthcare economics. She also specializes in content targeted to clinicians, including nurses. Kara-Marie is a member of the Association of Healthcare Journalists (AHCJ) and enjoys collaborating with others to improve the healthcare experience for all.