The Andhra Pradesh National Health Mission portal has integrated the IBM Watson virtual agent to help the residents quickly get answers to their queries about Covid-19. The chatbot is designed to understand and respond to common questions about Covid-19 in English, Telugu and Hindi, IBM said on Thursday. The virtual agent is deployed in a web browser and it is built in a way that it safeguards the privacy of the users, the company added.
"While the government is putting all resources available at its disposal to use, efforts like these go a long way in helping citizens meet their information needs," Bhaskar Katamneni, Mission Director, National Health Mission and Commissioner of Health, Medical and Family Welfare Department, Andhra Pradesh, said in a statement.
"I also appreciate the quick turnaround time of the IBM team to include Telugu, the official language of the state, into the Watson virtual agent."
The objective of this type of advanced technologies -- chatbots or virtual agents -- is to help reduce the waiting times for calls that users make to the telephone lines of state services relating to the novel coronavirus.
"In these unprecedented times, access to accurate information plays a critical role in allaying fears, dispelling myths and building trust among citizens," said Sandip Patel, General Manager, IBM India/South Asia.
"IBM is the innovation partner to businesses, governments and citizens across the world, and is committed to marshalling its resources, technology and expertise towards initiatives that help to manage COVID-19 outbreak," Patel added.