The University Medical Centre in Groningen (UMCG) has a new employee: a chat robot! Yup, Patients at the Dutch hospital can now ask written questions and have them answered by artificial intelligence (AI).
This will make the lives of the UMCG doctors significantly easier. Out of the 1,200 health-related questions they get asked weekly, a good chunk can now be answered by a friendly bot. 🤖
The UMCG is the first hospital in Europe to use AI in this way, reports the NOS.
How does it work?
The questions that AI answers are those that are admin-focused — about things such as correct medication use or test results. To help out patients, the chatbot accesses the their files and makes use of its pre-programmed medical knowledge.
Natuurlijk, the answers given are subject to rules, and the bot can only share general medical information — not personalised advice. For extra safety, an employee checks each answer before it is sent.
Thanks to this innovative method, doctors gain more time for case-specific, personal patient details, and hospitals can better deal with the shortage of healthcare workers.
More informative and more polite
For privacy reasons, this isn’t the type of AI that learns more as it receives more information. The data stays within the electronic file of the patient and is never used for any other purpose.
The doctors also claim that the AI is more polite than them — which says a lot about Dutch doctors… 👀
Healthcare workers are used to answering questions between different parties, so they can sometimes be a little curt. In comparison, the chatbot gives more informative and comprehensive answers and does so more empathetically. 🤖🧡
What do you think about using AI in healthcare? Tell us in the comments!