Healthcare Chatbots: Your Coronavirus Fact-Checkers

As the coronavirus crisis continues, facts are crucial to public safety. Healthcare chatbots are working hard to debunk myths and to spread correct information.

By Adam Westin
April 7, 2020

Coronavirus. With diagnoses spreading like wildfire around the globe, just about every aspect of life is being affected by the pandemic. CoV represents a large family of viruses from which COVID-19—the current outbreak strain—is derived. Also known as nCoV (indicating no previous identification, or a “novel” virus), this coronavirus is a rapidly growing public health emergency that is causing widespread panic in many countries.

With all of the chaos and unknown information surrounding this newly pronounced pandemic, it has become increasingly difficult to understand what’s actually happening around the world. Rumors about how the virus is both transmitted and prevented are rampant on the internet, obviously not helping to ease people’s anxieties. Luckily, healthcare chatbots have come into play at just the right time.

Chatbots in healthcare

There have been chatbots in healthcare for quite some time. As technology advances alongside societal developments, artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics software are constantly evolving to meet current medical needs. Healthcare chatbot use cases span from appointment scheduling to cancer screening, and they provide invaluable assistance to medical professionals. In the case of coronavirus, we’re looking at a different kind of healthcare chatbot—one that’s designed to provide factual information in an effort to limit the spread of the virus.

Chatbots provide an advantageous medium of communication. Because they can be housed on different kinds of platforms, chatbots can interact with people—who are already online—in a conversational manner. They can even hold a conversation. Chatbots can answer questions, provide information straight from the source, and, importantly, address a person by name. All of these qualities combined help make chatbots an ideal source of information for those seeking
comfort in facts in this uncertain time.

WhatsApp nCoV helpdesk +91 9321398773

The nCoV helpdesk is a healthcare chatbot designed to debunk myths about coronavirus and to suggest precautionary hygienic practices to the public. Built by Haptik, it can be reached on WhatsApp at +91 9321398773. Creators of nCoV helpdesk argue that the public needs to be better educated on the coronavirus facts, stats, and appropriate preventive actions to properly protect themselves and to stop the circulation of rumors.

Using data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other reliable sources, nCoV helpdesk quickly and conversationally answers questions about the coronavirus. Employing a chatbot on WhatsApp was a deliberate strategy used to engage and educate as many people as possible worldwide. This is a major part of the plan to reduce panic and confusion among the public by spreading awareness and truths about the virus.

Bespoke Bebot

Another healthcare chatbot that has recently popped up is named Bebot. Developed by Bespoke, Bebot was the first chatbot designed specifically for travelers. This puts the company in a key position to help a lot of people, since so many travel plans are being canceled due to the spread of coronavirus. Therefore, Bespoke updated Bebot to act as a healthcare chatbot for travelers.

Bebot can be easily accessed online (no application required) and speaks both English and Chinese. Travelers can ask Bebot for the latest coronavirus news, statistics, and transmission rates, and they can get details on symptoms, prevention, and treatment. This travel-turned-healthcare chatbot aims to provide immediate and accurate information in the case of any emergency—including the coronavirus. It’s particularly important that travelers are able to
access this kind of information to help prevent the virus from escalating and spreading across
the globe.

What else?

Both of these bots are expected to help limit the spread of coronavirus, but no one can be sure of their exact impact yet. Other technologies, like AI and analytics software, are being used to reduce unnecessary face-to-face contact. In China, to reduce exposure, drones have begun delivering medical supplies to hospitals. To prevent unnecessary contamination, robots are being used to sterilize quarantine wards. And blockchain platforms are helping to digitize and speed up claims processing. AI is even beginning to detect and diagnose patients by reading
CT scans.

The future scale of the coronavirus is unknown. What is certain is that technology is dramatically changing the way we, as a society, handle crises like the coronavirus. Who knows? Maybe healthcare chatbots and AI technology will put an end to this pandemic.