AI in Healthcare: Enhancing Patient Communication, Adherence to Treatment Plans, and Patient Engagement in their Healthcare Journey

AI in Healthcare: Enhancing Patient Communication, Adherence to Treatment Plans, and Patient Engagement in their Healthcare Journey
Revolutionizing Patient Communication and Engagement with AI in Healthcare
This article has been contributed by Dr. Arpita Goyal, Yale Scholar.

The healthcare industry is rapidly evolving with an increasing demand for AI-powered solutions, and care is shifting toward the adoption of a patient-centered approach. AI applications span across diagnostics, treatment, and beyond, reshaping the dynamics of interactions within healthcare services. AI plays a significant role in enhancing communication between healthcare providers and patients.

Enhancing Patient Communication
Improving Adherence to Treatment Plans
Enhancing Patient Engagement

Enhancing Patient Communication

AI-driven tools like chatbots use advanced AI algorithms and existing medical databases to engage patients in conversations about their health conditions and educate them on how to take care of their well-being. By utilizing natural language processing and machine learning, AI tailors its communication in a way that could cater to individual patients’ needs. Furthermore, it streamlines tasks through automation such as scheduling appointments, managing patient data, and insurance inquiries.

Chatbots have proven to be beneficial in setting reminders for medication intake, monitoring compliance levels, and facilitating medication refills and dosage instructions. Beyond handling tasks, it can also act as a personalized health companion, offering health advice, wellness tips, and comprehensive support for managing medical conditions to allow individuals to self-manage their health conditions.

Another innovative AI tool is language translation services that translate information into the patient's preferred language and this tool ensures that language barriers do not impede access to essential healthcare resources. Companies like Healthify engage with patients in their language to address
their questions on fitness, nutrition, and overall wellness.

Another company, PharmEasy leverages AI for optimizing appointments, scheduling, organizing patient data, and addressing insurance-related concerns to enhance the patient journey. And, Dooze focuses on patient monitoring to provide care and prompt interventions through improved communication between patients and healthcare providers.

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Improving Adherence to Treatment Plans

Improving compliance with treatment plans presents a challenge in healthcare, as it can result in adverse outcomes and higher healthcare expenses. Some AI technologies use sensors and wearable devices to monitor the activities of the patients, including medication adherence and their physical movements at all times.

By analyzing their data, AI technology can also assist in detecting patterns of adherence, enabling healthcare providers to intervene with patients at risk of non-compliance before anything related to health issues escalates. These technologies can send medication reminders, offer strategies for managing side effects, and deliver information according to individual patient needs. Research suggests there is an increase in adherence rates with the use of AI-driven interventions and patients have rated this platform as effective too.

AI algorithms are continuously being improved to accurately predict medication adherence, so they can promptly alert healthcare providers about errors in medication usage. Tools like SMS-based refill reminders and monitoring systems aid patients in tracking medication intake and assisting them in following their treatment plans. These AI systems can adjust communication tactics based on each patient's behavior and reasons for non-adherence through reinforcement learning algorithms, ultimately contributing to compliance over time.

AI-powered tools also offer tailored guidance to assist patients in overcoming obstacles to adherence, such as logistical challenges or financial limitations. Everwell is among the companies leveraging AI to enhance medication adherence for individuals dealing with mental health issues. The company monitors medication compliance, collaborates with healthcare providers, devises strategies to monitor adherence rates, and delivers interventions to enhance adherence.

Enhancing Patient Engagement

When patients are engaged in their health journey, research suggests that they are more likely to follow treatment plans, stick to their medications, and embrace lifestyle measures. In this transformative era, AI-driven tools are redefining healthcare delivery, making it more accessible and patient-focused. The application of AI in telemedicine allows patients to seek care remotely. AI-
powered interventions can help patients access quality care, helping them achieve better health outcomes and create better patient satisfaction.

Further, AI-driven patient portals provide people with an unprecedented level of access to their health and wellness records, scheduling and administrative resources, and direct lines of communication to their support team, all from anywhere and at any time. This round-the-clock visibility of important health and wellness data makes it easier for people to take a more direct role in managing their health, including routine testing and screenings.

AI tools do this by leveraging detailed data, from past medical histories and records to daily routines and behaviors, so healthcare professionals can create a truly personalized solution, specifically tailored to the individual. The next frontier, including AI-driven voice assistants and chatbots, makes access to support easy, intuitive, and even empathetic.

AI-powered tools assist in bridging gaps and enable more patient-centric healthcare delivery models leading to better health outcomes and enhanced patient satisfaction. The use of AI in healthcare benefits both patients and healthcare providers in ways such as personalized and empathetic interaction, improved accessibility, cost and time savings, and administrative burden reduction. Patients could easily find available healthcare providers, schedule appointments, and receive general healthcare-related information using AI.

AI assistants could also aid healthcare providers in documenting patient encounters nearly in real-time, thus improving clinical documentation quality, reducing administrative time, and reducing provider burnout.

However, there are various challenges and risks associated with AI-powered communication tools, including inequalities and biases, dehumanization of healthcare, privacy and security risks, trust and transparency challenges, and ethical and regulatory concerns. Also, there are immense bureaucratic and regulatory hurdles to overcome to develop an appropriate regulation and oversight of these technologies that guarantee their safe and effective use in healthcare. But the sheer energy of Indian AI healthcare startups like, PharmEasy, HealthifyMe, and others, which are innovating in medical imaging, disease diagnosis, telemedicine, chronic disease management, and medication care AI from India to the US, Europe, the UK, South America, and Africa.

The landscape of patient communication, adherence, and engagement will ultimately transform the healthcare industry, especially in India, if the government allows initiatives like the National Digital Health Mission to promote widespread patient communication, adherence, and engagement and funds AI innovation.

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