Report: Conversational AI reduces barriers to mental health treatment

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A new study from Botco AI, a HIPAA-compliant conversational marketing platform, surveyed executives from a variety of mental and behavioral health facilities and organizations to understand the impact of the pandemic and how it has increased need for mental health services. Titled “The State of Automating Conversations and Accessing Mental Health Services,” the study also focuses on how mental health providers are using technology to interact with people. current and future patients.

The biggest lesson from the study is Conversational AI (artificial intelligence) is a game changer for behavioral health care. According to the study, “The social mandates, constraints, and restrictions of the pandemic have driven the need for online assistance, virtual appointments, and digital interactions to facilitate greater access to mental health services.”

Conversational AI eases treatment pathways: Majority of respondents – 89% – say automatic conversation tools that make it easier for patients to access the mental health care they need. More than three-quarters (76%) confirm that they have used technology to dispatch and receive patients, and 61% say their company’s website has used conversational AI to answer questions from potential customers or their families.

“The findings of this study highlight the importance of mental health facilities in adopting new technologies to reduce barriers that prevent millions of Americans from accessing mental health services. god they need,” said Anu Shukla, co-founder and executive chairman of Botco AI.


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Increased demand for mental health services

While pandemic By disrupting or halting vital direct mental health services, the need for mental health treatment actually increases. As a result, 100% of survey respondents extended their virtual behavioral support during the pandemic.

About 34% of survey respondents admitted that their mental health facility, behavioral health organization or addiction treatment center has increased online support by 50-75% to help people with disabilities. struggling with mental health.

The mental health impacts of the pandemic are thought to be disproportionate: About 41% of respondents believe the pandemic has made it harder for people in general to access mental health treatment. 55% say the pandemic has made it harder for African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans and LGBTQ+ people to access mental health services.

Benefits of conversational AI in behavioral healthcare

“Today, video conferencing capabilities have become a staple for mental health facilities, and many treatment centers are starting to leverage AI and automation for mental health,” says Shukla. important functions such as lead certification, patient admission, and even the treatment itself. “

For patients, digital interactions, online healthcare services, and the use of conversational AI technology like chatbots can provide many benefits, including:

  • Healthcare has no geographical boundaries.
  • 24/7 patient support and resources.
  • Easily schedule appointments with therapists and healthcare professionals.
  • Tailored responses transform their patient journey and help improve clinical outcomes.
  • A user-friendly, judgment-free environment that eliminates stigma and shame.
  • Overcome potential language barriers.

For providers, using conversational AI to streamline admissions can play an important role in the operational, financial, and clinical success of health practices and systems. economic. This not only means faster throughput and shorter wait times, but also allows healthcare providers to use their time to deliver better care to patients. their employees, instead of filling out paperwork.

Specifically, in terms of conversation automation, Shukla said, “it can not only help patients and their families get faster, more accurate answers to their most pressing questions, but it can also provides instant coverage verification, and it can be attached to a patient’s electronic health record to ensure a higher quality of care. “

Providing requested support is critical to improving access to mental health services

Digital channels empower facility discovery: 49% of patients and their families learn about their chosen treatment facility online using website tools such as chatbots, much more often compared to word of mouth (25%), doctor referral (19%), or advertising (7%).

Chatbots are already a popular patient tool: 61% of respondents said that their organization already has conversational AI tools in place on their website to answer questions from potential patients or family members. their family.

The AI ​​chat is perfectly positioned to answer FAQs: The most common topics patients and their families discuss before signing up for treatment include cost (68%), insurance ( 60%), length of treatment (46%), types of treatment available (43%) and payment options (41%). These are all questions automated chatbots are designed to answer, providing patients with the support they need without requiring additional staff effort.

“The good news is that the majority of mental health facilities have adopted chatbots and other technologies, but based on our findings, the industry as a whole still has some work to do,” said Shukla. work to improve mental health support for those who need it and especially for minorities. “

In June 2022, Botco AI surveyed approximately 120 executives, including vice presidents, executives, facility managers, and admissions directors, working in mental health facilities mental health organizations, behavioral health organizations, addiction treatment providers, and rehabilitation centers.

Read Full report from Botco AI.

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