When the Uruguayan government confirmed the first cases of COVID-19, the Minister of Public Health announced the creation of a 24-hour hotline (0800 1919) for personalized consultations. At the same time, it was reported that a bot and an application would be enabled as complementary tools to decompress the call load, and thus ensure the automatic processing of all requests received.
A chatbot is a technological solution through which a user can maintain a conversation with a virtual assistant (bot) through the Internet, on web portals or through messaging applications (such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger), to answer questions, make purchases or even request money loans.
Virtual assistants vary in complexity. They can incorporate artificial intelligence: they learn and refine their responses to such an extent that the user may find it difficult to distinguish whether he or she is chatting with a robot or a person.
In this way, conversational technology becomes a key ally in the fight against COVID-19, thanks to the technological advances associated with natural language understanding and the processing of large amounts of information.
In this case, the chatbot of the Ministry of Public Health responds automatically to requests with preconfigured information and allows coordinating medical consultations in case of suspicion of COVID-19 infection.
At Hey Now we created the UY Coronavirus Plan chatbot, which, like the other communication channels, uses content designed by the Public Health Epidemiology Department to inform users who have questions about COVID-19, assist those who have symptoms or have been in contact with infected people, and gather information at the national level to better contain the spread of the virus.
In a second stage, we also incorporated the management of the agenda for the vaccines against the virus. Learn more here.
Listen here to the radio interview with Rodrigo Cetrángolo, Product Manager & Presales of Hey Now.
Chatbots in the world
Argentina has its own chatbot in WhatsApp, called "Boti", which already existed before the pandemic. It was developed by the Government of the City of Buenos Aires. In addition to providing information to users, it helps to identify possible infected people and sends information on suspected cases to the health authorities to activate the corresponding protocols.
In Spain, Carina is the bot that provides answers about the coronavirus and is available for any public institution to place on its website. The most consulted topics are related to symptoms, definition of the coronavirus, risk areas and forms of protection.
In Mexico, COVIDbot is the chatbot that fights against misinformation about the coronavirus. For this, it uses official data and recommendations from official agencies as input for its answers.
At the same time, one of the functionalities allows the bot to indicate the name and location of the nearest certified laboratory to perform a COVID-19 test.
Original note published in 970 Universal.