UK’s National Health Service Turns To a Chat Bot For Help

UK’s National Health Service Turns To a Chat Bot For Help

UK residents can ask this trial AI for quick medical advice

Jiwon Kim
  • 9 january 2017

In the UK, 111 is the number you call to reach the National Health Service for medical emergencies. The National Health Service is the UK’s publicly funded national health care system that provides services to UK residents. Although the system allows for perks such as cheap medication and free medical treatments, its responsibility over an enormous population also has its fallbacks. One big complaint is the fact that the 111 service is not always reliable, with certain calls going unanswered and 111 call-takers giving out incorrect advice. The National Health Service’s solution to this problem is a chat bot trial app created with Babylon Health, a company that provides medical on-demand services.

This new app is similar to Babylon Health’s current mobile app. Users go through a symptom questionnaire and then can get connected to a general practitioner through a video call. The AI-powered chatbot is engineered to take this information to dispense advice on what they should do next. The 111 service will continue to exist but this new app is a way for people to receive medical advice anytime.

For a period of six months, over a million people in London will be able to try out the app, allowing data to be collected to see if this chat bot can translate to a nationwide service. Data collected includes how many people use the app, feedback on user experience and whether or not there is any impact on the amount of emergency visits.

The perks of this chat bot is that it has access to more medical knowledge than most 111 call-takers, who do not always possess a medical background. Therefore, AI technology will be able to quickly process important medical information from just a few questions. The app will hopefully alleviate the workload for 111 call-takers and medical professionals while providing more accurate information to UK residents.

The National Health Service | Babylon Health


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