I Predict Most Providers Won’t Do This for a Very Long Time

Joshua Liu, MD

Co-founder & CEO at SeamlessMD
LinkedIn: Joshua Liu
X: @joshuapliu
Co-host: The Digital Patient Podcast
Musings and Insights

Mobile & Web 2.0 provided the tech needed to automate patient education and engagement over the past 15 years (e.g. SMS, email, app-based content)…

… yet even today, most providers still don’t do this (except for the most basic interactions, e.g. emailing a static PDF).

AI agents will allow us to automate back-and-forth conversations with patients in the coming years…

… and I predict most providers won’t do this for a very long time.

The barrier to implementation in the Web 2.0 age was never technology.

Technology won’t be the barrier in the age of AI agents either.

What technologists and pundits who have never operated inside the healthcare environment fail to appreciate is that technology – whether it’s a simple SMS reminder or full-blown AI agent – generally automates or replaces existing workflows that humans have already accepted and adopted.

E.g. AI agents already have and will continue to replace the majority of technical support at businesses precisely because day-to-day customer support was being done by a human.

But when was the last time your doctor or nurse called you daily to monitor how you were doing? Or messaged you daily to remind you about key steps in your treatment plan?

If your answer was “never” (which I suspect is the case for the vast majority of us)… then that’s our problem right there.

I’ve lived this firsthand because SeamlessMD has been a leader in enabling digital patient education and engagement since the Mobile & Web 2.0 age, and although adoption has been increasing, it’s still not the standard of care.

Not because of a lack of tech – which has been there for a while now.

But because we had to evangelize to physicians, nurses and the whole provider team that even though they never called a patient daily to keep them on track, they should let software automatically do this… for a workflow they never did themselves.

This new workflow that most agree would be better for patients… but still, even in manual or analog form, isn’t yet the standard of care.

And of course, AI agents have an additional barrier that Mobile & Web 2.0 didn’t have: increased and unknown liability risk due to lack of control over the exact output (e.g. risk of hallucinations).

So no – despite what press releases or technologists tell you, AI is not replacing nurse or physician clinical conversations anytime soon.

There’s still a paradigm shift over the idea of caring for patients between clinical encounters that’s still in progress.

So for better or worse, similar to how Mobile and Web 2.0 transformed retail, banking and even healthcare operations before it transformed clinical care… so too will AI transform everything else before direct clinical care.

The Digital Patient

The Digital Patient takes an “edu-taining” approach to all things digital patient care. On this show hosts Dr. Joshua Liu, and Alan Sardana talk with healthcare, technology, and innovation leaders about the latest advancements in digital health, trends in digital transformation, and strategies for optimizing the patient experience.