By Suzanne Basra, Content & Internal Communications Manager at Ogilvy UK


healthBOT 2018 is the first "chatbot" conference dedicated to AI, messaging and chatbots for health & wellness in the UK.

Hosted at Ogilvy UK’s home on London’s South Bank, the half-day conference empowers attendees to take bold steps into the brave new world of messaging and AI bots.

Whether it be ideating initial pilot projects - enhancing existing programs - or even sharing best practices – the event looks to be the launch pad for innovators looking to disrupt health & wellness.

This year we heard from a vast range of speakers including Ogilvy’s own Chief Digital Officer – Wellness Ritesh Patel alongside Ogilvy’s Mike McFadden and Alexandra Newman, as well as healthcare experts including Conversation Health’s Dr John Reeves and Patient Connect’s Carol Collins. Here are the day’s top themes.

A space for healthcare to grow

With 75% of the UK going online for health information, the market is here and ready for innovation in Health & Wellness.

The third wave of digital is so important and relevant to healthcare. “Patients will engage in conversations with a bot that they would never have with their friends, family or physician” says Conversation Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Reeves.

A huge opportunity for the healthcare industry exists with bots and AI. In fact, Ogilvy’s Ritesh Patel explains the “quick response and painlessness” of bots make them great for healthcare.  

Supplement, don’t’ replace

When we think about the potential of bots and AI it can be tempting to have them cover everything. Take Japan for example – a country miles ahead of the UK in terms of robot adoption with entire call centres run solely by robots. Yet, when it comes to healthcare, is this the right approach? Can we have bots without human doctors?

The overwhelming argument against bot-only models was a huge theme throughout this conference. The idea was raised time and time again that bots and AI should be part of an overall strategy that serves a purpose when it comes to healthcare. The key here is for bots to work with healthcare professionals, to supplement their work, not to replace them.

Making patients’ lives easier

When it comes to messaging bots, the return on engagement is enormous. Ritesh Patel believes this to be a huge opportunity to better the healthcare system for all.

Yet Dr. Carol Collins warned against bombarding patients on these platforms. “When it comes to engaging with patients, there are opportunities to be better. But we mustn’t add to information overload for patients. Bots for healthcare should make patients’ lives easier” believes Carol. In the healthcare sector, the tech needs to be patient-centric.

The importance of the human touch

Ritesh Patel enforced the point that when it comes to AI and bots in healthcare, the human touch still matters.

There are just some things that a human can do which the tech can’t – and that’s ok. With bots and AI being supplementary to professionals in the healthcare space, the human element of engagement and interaction with patients remains important.

Building the health bot canvas

Conversation Health’s Lexi Kaplin shared insights on building the heath bot canvas. She explained that owing to the emergence of chatbots, “healthcare companies can now have continuous conversations with their customers”.  Indeed as Dr John Reeves highlighted, healthcare brands can now talk to millions of customers altogether via bots.

But how to connect with the right audience and where? When thinking about the health bot canvas, Lexi advises brands and companies to first identify the audience with which they want to engage. Then to identify the digital touchpoints for that audience. There are areas where bots and AI can really add value to healthcare that can help breath new life into the industry and the patient experience. It’s certainly an exciting time for healthcare and tech companies alike.


More on healthBOT 2018 from Ogilvy's Chief Digital Officer - Health & Wellnes, Ritesh Patel here.