AI & ML News

IBM Offers “Watson Assistant for Citizens” to Speed Reliable Responses to COVID-19 Questions

IBM Watson Assistant for Citizens brings together Watson Assistant, NLP capabilities and AI search capabilities with Watson Discovery, to understand and respond to common questions about COVID-19.

IBM is helping government agencies, healthcare organizations and academic institutions throughout the world use AI to put trusted data and information into the hands of their citizens. With a flood of information requests from citizens, wait times in many areas to receive answers can exceed two hours. Available for no charge for at least 90 days and available to the client’s citizens online, IBM Watson Assistant for Citizens on the IBM public cloud, brings together Watson Assistant, Natural Language Processing capabilities from IBM Research, and state-of-art enterprise AI search capabilities with Watson Discovery, to understand and respond to common questions about COVID-19.

 “While helping government agencies and healthcare institutions use AI to get critical information out to their citizens remains a high priority right now, the current environment has made it clear that every business in every industry should find ways to digitally engage with their clients and employees,” said Rob Thomas, General Manager, IBM Data & AI. “With today’s news, IBM is taking years of experience in helping thousands of global businesses and institutions use Natural Language Processing and other advanced AI technologies to better meet the demands of their constituents, and now applying it to the COVID-19 crisis. AI has the power to be your assistant during this uncertain time.”

Watson Assistant for Citizens leverages currently available data from external sources which include the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and other government sources for prevention & treatment related guidance, citizen welfare schemes in India, as well as global resources such as World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention(CDC).  IBM already is delivering this service across the United States, as well as engaging with organizations globally in Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain and more.

Here are examples where IBM is engaging with government and healthcare agencies on Watson Assistant for Citizens:

ARKANSAS (US): University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences –  In 9 days, deployed a virtual agent so citizens can get their questions answered quickly about testing, symptoms or resources. Information is automatically sent to a mobile COVID-19 triage clinic electronically to help speed response. Average registration time has been reduced by fifty percent for those using the agent.

GEORGIA (US) : Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta –  The “COVID-19 Pediatric Assessment Tool” walks parents through a series of questions and results in suggested next steps that a parent should take. Recommendations on next steps are made according to the healthcare system’s established protocols.

TEXAS (US): City of Austin – COVID-19-related information will soon be available for citizens with interactive conversation on where to get testing and other information.  

CZECH REPUBLIC: Czech Ministry of Health – COVID-19 virtual agent called “Anežka” advises citizens about prevention, treatment and other related topics on the coronavirus.

GREECE: Hellenic Ministry of Digital Governance – COVID-19-related information for citizens and interactive conversation on preventive and precautionary measures issued by the Greek Government.

POLAND: Polish Ministry of Health – COVID-19 information for Polish citizens on common questions such as symptoms and recommended procedures to follow in case of infection.

SPAIN: Andalusian Government –  A virtual agent to help respond to citizen’s queries about COVID-19 is available through the app “Salud Responde” and the Public Agency for Health Emergencies (EPES) website, built also in collaboration with the Andalusian Health Service (SAS).

UK: National Health Service Wales: Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board – CERi, an English and Welsh speaking virtual assistant, will soon go live to support healthcare workers and the general public in Wales who need information or have questions on the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 along with general information about the virus.

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