Health care system launches chatbot to answer Covid-19 questions


LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — Getting answers from Lancaster County’s largest health care system about Covid-19 can now be achieved with a only few swipes on your phone.

“You can almost consider it a digital front door to our system,” says Allen Cubell, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health’s executive director of innovation.

The new chatbot on the health care provider’s website offers medical advice on how to handle Covid-19 symptoms.

“It’s a triage tool to handle the more basic communications in as an efficient manner as possible so when you’re ready to talk to a nurse or doctor we’re leveraging their resources in the most appropriate way,” Cubell said.

He said those who are using the tool aren’t chatting with an actual person, but that the chatbot uses artificial intelligence in tandem with a complex system to analyze what the user is saying or asking.

Cubell said the chatbot will never track who is typing. “Our Covid-19 chatbot is anonymous. We will never know who you are until you actually reach out and call our hotline or a practice.”

The director stressed that the chatbot should not replace doctor visits but that it hopefully connects more people to a healthcare provider.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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