How A Healthcare-Focused Chatbot Helps Patients Stay ‘Loyal’ to Providers

“If you think of a chatbot as just another marketing tool, you are definitely missing a big opportunity to engage and help consumers through the power of conversation,” Chad Mallory tells Hypepotamus.

It’s true — chatbots not only drive faster customer engagement, they’re also forecast to help businesses save at least $8 billion by 2022.

In 2015, Mallory founded Atlanta-based Loyal, which aims to provide healthcare systems with AI-driven tools, like chatbots, to help improve patient experience, retention and feedback through the often-complex healthcare journey.

The idea came about following the successful acquisition of Mallory’s digital marketing firm in 2015. Mallory was approached by Matt Gove, the Chief Consumer Officer for Atlanta health system Piedmont Healthcare, to help solve a problem he was facing around the digital experience and how we can make it better through technology. .

“Patient expectations are the same as consumer expectations. Google, Amazon and others have taught us how to research, compare, purchase and receive customer service,” says Mallory.

“We enjoy this type of efficient, high-quality digital experience in virtually every aspect of our lives, except healthcare.”

Loyal helps hospitals engage through the entire patient journey — before, during and after. With tools like chatbots and live chats, a patient can obtain answers to their questions all in one place.

By delivering faster, more positive experiences, providers increase patient loyalty.  

“Health systems have done a good job of adopting EHRs (electronic health records) that allow providers to manage clinical interactions, but we see the opportunity on the consumer side, where there is still a need for vast improvements in that experience,” says Mallory.

The platform integrates into existing technology and helps the patient choose a doctor, ask for directions, book an appointment, pay their bill and more. Loyal’s chatbot, Guide, has healthcare-specific attributes to handle any special needs a patient may have. Its custom capabilities make it stand out in a highly-fragmented market, says Mallory.

“The number of conversations we are allowing health systems to have is enabling them to view and understand intent in a way they have never been able to before. They can see the questions patients are asking, identify the need, and be able to deliver,” he says. 

Loyal’s second product, Empower, helps health systems easily integrate reviews left by patients on their website. By adding only a few lines of code, patients can see others’ experiences with specific physicians.

“When it comes to low-acuity care, health systems are now competing with retail clinics and even virtual visits.  Our platform helps level the playing field by making it easier for them to provide digital experiences that offer the same level of convenience,” he says.

Their revenue model is simple: an annual subscription based on the size of the health system client.

In late 2017, the company rebranded as Loyal (it was previously called Transparently) to encompass their new offerings for health systems and bring the brand and mission under one simple, concise message.

“Our mission is to make the complicated, simple,” Mallory says. “Our new messaging moves that mission forward by highlighting our dedication to helping health systems simplify the complexities of the digital patient experience through smart, consumer-first technologies that drive loyalty.”

Loyal had a big year for product development which saw the rollout of a new data management platform, Connect. Mallory tells Hypepotamus that they’re looking to continue that growth into the new year.