Healthbeat: Wright Center adds smart bot ‘Neo’ to easily navigate website


SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) —  It can be frustrating sometimes trying to reach a doctor’s office to schedule an appointment or address some other need.

A local healthcare provider is leaning on a new website feature to ease that frustration.

Have you ever called the doctor’s office, navigated a phone menu and ended up leaving a message, then waited and waited for a return phone call? Now, a high-tech method aims to help you get what you need quickly and easily.

Meet Neo, an interactive healthcare-specific smart bot that’s now featured on The Wright Center’s online site. Dr. Jignesh Sheth’s first reaction after using it?

“I said, like, ‘wow’,” Dr. Sheth said.

Found at the bottom right hand corner of the site, this gender-neutral named icon is ready to go to work for you. Need to find a location, make a doctor’s appointment, or refill a prescription? Just click on an on-screen button and Neo will do all of that 24/7.

“Patients actually want choice where they can call the office after hours, weekends, at night when they have the ability to get to their, you know, schedules,” Dr. Sheth said.

Dr. Sheth says Neo is able to answer most of the commonly asked patient or new patient questions based on preset inquiries and answers. Most questions these days concern COVID-19.

“Making an appointment for vaccination obviously is one of those things that patients are really looking for,” Dr. Sheth said.

They’re also looking for COVID testing or treatment. Once Neo processes your questions and answers, you’ll get a confirmation message via text or email that you’re all set.

“If the bot is not able to help the patient, they’re immediately connected to a live person,” Sheth said.

With The Wright Center’s 30,000 patients at its Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wayne County locations, you can imagine how the call center can get overwhelmed. Dr. Sheth believes Neo is about as good a solution to that as possible

“This is one of the tools that we have in our toolbox. It does not solve all our problems but I feel this is going to ease some of the stress on the call centers, including our staff where they constantly have to be on the phones,” Dr. Sheth said.

Dr. Sheth says Neo is fully HIPAA-compliant. He also says this technology may not be for everyone and is not considered a substitute for a medical diagnosis. If a phone call is necessary, The Wright Center will still answer it as quickly as possible.

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