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Taiwan CDC’s chatbot upgraded on its 1st birthday: Answering infectious disease-related questions via LINE

  • Resource: Taiwan CDC
  • Release date: 10/4/2018 1:38:53 PM

The Disease Control Butler, a chatbot available on the official LINEaccount (@taiwancdc) of Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (TaiwanCDC), is celebrating its first birthday! Taiwan CDC held a pressconference on September 19 to mark the occasion with a fondant cake inthe shape of the Disease Control Butler. An animated promotional filmand the Disease Control Butler version 2.0 were also released. Theone-year-old chatbot provides updates on disease outbreaks and publichealth threats of over 200 countries. Version 2.0 allows LINE users toask questions about over 90 infectious diseases, including onescommonly caught while traveling. It also reminds users of takingpreventive measures before traveling overseas to avoid bringingdiseases home.

  In 2017, Taiwan CDC partnered with HTC to develop the DiseaseControl Butler, who now has more than 70,000 LINE friends. Aside fromproviding flu vaccine-related information, the upgraded chatbot canalso answer questions regarding infectious diseases. Users can learnabout dengue fever prevention and enterovirus symptoms as well assearch for nearby health care providers. Before going abroad, turn tothe Disease Control Butler for the latest disease situation at yourdestination, and discover ways to avoid infection. For example, userswill be informed if they need pre-travel vaccines or preventive medicaltreatments. You can also search for the nearest travel medicine clinic.Provide your departure and return dates and the chatbot will sendreminders on disease prevention 45 days before your trip and healthmanagement alerts after you return.

  Taiwan CDC Director-General Chou Jih-haw thanked the HTCdevelopment team for their contribution to the prevention and treatmentof infectious diseases. The HTC team not only provided technicalexpertise to build a user-friendly interface for the chatbot but wasalso committed to bringing the chatbot closer to the people, Chou said.Through AI technology, the Disease Control Butler can provide timelyand accurate epidemiological information, becoming a health advocate ineveryone’s pocket, he added.

  Edward Chang, the President of Research and Healthcare at HTC,said his development team has introduced a number of groundbreakinginnovations worldwide and has earned the recognition from internationalAI experts. This time, his team collaborated with Taiwan CDC andtailored services according to the needs of the society. Powered bymedical natural language processing and machine learning technologybehind a thoughtful user experience design, the chatbot gets smarter asmore people interact with it. It provides information on epidemicprevention based on the user’s inquiries, providing users with a betterunderstanding of infectious diseases.

  Taiwan CDC encourages LINE users to join the conversation withthe Disease Control Butler by going to Official Accounts and typing“疾管家” or “@taiwancdc” in the search bar. Users planning to go overseasare welcome to try out the new features for travelers. In addition,this year’s government-funded vaccination campaign starts on October15, and the chatbot has the latest information on eligibilityrequirements, participating medical institutions, and so on. To learnmore, please visit Taiwan CDC’s official website: http://www.cdc.gov.twor watch the animated promotional film on Taiwan CDC’s YouTube channel:https://www.youtube.com/user/taiwancdc.

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