Northwell launches AI chatbot to reduce colonoscopy no-shows

Northwell Health introduced Dec. 3 a personalized chatbot to address misconceptions and concerns in patients scheduled to undergo colonoscopies at two of the New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based health system's hospitals.

Colonoscopy Health Chat will be available via text message or email for patients with colonoscopy appointments at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park and Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y. The chatbot uses artificial intelligence to provide information about the benefits of the test and what to expect before, during and after the procedure, as well as reminders about the date and location of the appointment, all in a conversational, responsive manner, in either English or Spanish.

The goal of the new AI tool, built using Conversa Health's automated conversation platform, is to reduce the procedure's no-show rate; according to Northwell, studies show that around 40 percent of patients scheduled for colonoscopies do not follow through with the test.

"Colonoscopy is a powerful and potentially life-saving procedure, but many people are intimidated or think it will be much more unpleasant than it really is," said Sabina Zak, Northwell's vice president of community health and health services research. "The colonoscopy health chat platform is a flexible, scalable solution that improves health literacy and gives patients the information they need whenever they need it, so that they feel comfortable and motivated to get screened."

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