Mercy Pioneers Time-saving Chatbot that Redefines Health Care Experience

December 18, 2023

by Mercy's Nate Kuester

ST. LOUIS – Mercy, an innovative health care leader, recently introduced "Toni," a savvy chatbot designed to make your health care experience smoother and more convenient. Toni acts as a virtual assistant, using smart technology to help with things like scheduling appointments and refilling prescriptions, day and night.

“While consumers encounter chatbots in many industries, they're relatively new to health care,” said Steve Mackin, Mercy president and CEO. “These tech advancements save patients time. Toni is part of Mercy's commitment to using technology to make the health care experience better, more convenient and most importantly, private and secure.”

Mercy is one of the first major health systems in the country to provide chatbots. Toni is designed to help you in real-time, providing personalized responses to your questions and needs, 24/7.

“Toni can handle your requests faster and easier than a phone call,” said Tamara Carlton, Mercy’s executive director of product development. “Research shows people prefer getting answers from a chatbot over dealing with forms or making phone calls. Toni puts you in control of your health care decisions, and the best part is Toni will be able to do even more for patients in the future.”

Mercy doctor's coat Toni, Mercy's chatbot, lives at the bottom of all mercy.net webpages.

Here are some key features of Toni that make your health care experience better:

  • Personalized Interaction: Toni chats with you online in a friendly, human-like way and can even share extra web resources.
  • 24/7 Accessibility: Need help at 3 a.m.? Toni is ready, breaking free from the limits of regular business hours for your convenience.
  • Secure Identification: Toni accesses your personal health care records to better assist you, but your information stays safe and private, offering a seamless and secure experience.
  • Instant Assistance: Toni quickly helps with common questions, like confirming and canceling appointments or renewing prescriptions.
  • Live Agent Connection: If you prefer talking to a real person, Toni can connect you while keeping track of what you discussed.

“We named ‘Toni’ after our beloved Sister of Mercy Mary ‘Roch’ Rocklage, who was born Antoinette Marie Rocklage,” said Mackin. “Sister Roch was an icon in health care and humbly stepped into the national spotlight to lead the American Hospital Association and others in her passion for health care access for all. Although Sister Roch died last year, it’s fitting that we would name this innovation after her because it provides greater access which she championed.”

In the last 30 days, Toni has interacted with over 14,000 users and answered about 42,000 questions, evidence of how Toni immediately adds value by offering personalized help and support to Mercy patients.

Amanda Richards, a social media specialist at Mercy, shared her firsthand experience with Toni, emphasizing how the chatbot makes managing appointments much easier and quicker.

“As a Mercy co-worker who chats with hundreds of patients online each week, I see firsthand how it’s helping our patients and I use Toni, too,” said Richards. “I’m thankful for the convenience Toni offers, because it is even easier to change or cancel an appointment now.”