WellSpan Health deploys Coronavirus chatbot using MedChat platform

A new COVID-19 chatbot deployed by WellSpan Health, using the MedChat platform, rapidly assesses and triages patients – all from the regional health system’s website.

WellSpan, a large integrated health system serving central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland, began hosting the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Risk Assessment Tool on its dedicated website for news and information on the COVID-19 pandemic – WellSpan.org/Coronavirus. The chatbot tool has been used more than 11,000 times since its launch on March 12.

Consumers can assess their risk of COVID-19 infection based on questions published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those whose answers indicate that they may be at risk for COVID-19 are instructed to call their primary care provider to discuss the need for testing. For those who do not have a primary care doctor and are shown to be at risk, the chatbot suggests they visit WellSpan Online Urgent Care at WellSpan.org/OUC.

“When a pandemic hits, screening and testing is essential to limiting the rapid spread of the disease within and across communities,” said R. Hal Baker, M.D., senior vice president for clinical improvement and chief information officer at WellSpan Health. “We pulled out every tool in our toolbox to help our friends and neighbors quickly assess their risk for infection and contact us for testing. This online assessment chatbot was an important tool that we hadn’t had before, and we believe it has helped us more quickly identify those who need testing while also providing some reassurance to the worried well who were not likely at risk.”

“WellSpan Health recognized how Live Chat and Chatbots could dramatically simplify communication with patients, providers, and other healthcare stakeholders,” said MedChat founder & CEO Matt Yagey.  “Their prescience in deploying MedChat’s live chat and chatbot platform put them in a position to help more of their patients faster. Live chat, chatbots, AI, and two-way texting reduces transactional friction and enables any healthcare organization to improve quality, productivity, and consumer experience.”

MedChat estimates 15% of health systems offer live chat and chatbots with adoption rapidly growing.  When given the choice, 41% of consumers will opt to communicate through live chat versus phone or webforms for convenience and self-service. Chatbots enhance live chat by automating responses to consumer questions and by helping navigate to the best resource. In a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, the platform enables consumers to self-serve, increasing call center labor productivity.

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