Developers Build Custom Chatbot Integration to Enhance Patient Communications
Northwestern Medicine developers integrate Microsoft bot platform with Cisco Enterprise Chat and Email to offer a seamless communications experience for patients.
In health care, it’s easy to find innovation in the technology and devices used inside the ERs, ORs and ICUs. But when it comes to an area as broad as patient communications, innovation happens behind the scenes, even though it is just as critical in the pursuit of unmatched patient care. When leadership at Northwestern Medicine announced a key initiative for the 2019-2020 fiscal year — “automation for the patient experience” — three developers saw an opportunity to build a custom application to give patients a richer communications experience.
In 2020, a new chatbot feature was launched within the MyNM® app, the patient portal that lets Northwestern Medicine patients send messages to physicians, access lab reports, request refills and manage appointments. Patients can use the chatbot to ask questions based on popular topics. While this software is mainstream in today’s tech-forward world, Northwestern Medicine developers noticed that patients interfacing with the bot wanted to speak to a live agent via chat — a microservice used by retail giants like Amazon and Best Buy, but harder to find in health systems.