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How to Develop a Chatbot for the COVID19 Vaccination Program? | by Parth Bari | Jun, 2021

The COVID19 pandemic is one of the most significant junctures in human history. Not just the economic impact, the pandemic has disrupted several lives along with 3,826,181 deaths. However, it also infused emergency in the pharmacy industry to push harder for innovation in vaccine technology. As a result, research in vaccine technology on such a scale has been phenomenal, resulting in more than 20 vaccines already in use.

However, the biggest challenge is not research or even manufacturing, but the distribution of these vaccines. Especially in countries like India or China, a massive population and distribution channels need to be advanced to avoid vaccine doses. Another issue is the tracking of vaccinations and whether it’s the first or second dose.

Another essential factor that authorities and pharma companies need to take care of is the misinformation around vaccination. According to a report, 52% who know someone vaccinated in their social circle are eager to get a vaccine shot. Yet, at the same time, 29% of people hesitate to take vaccines after knowing someone who has been vaccinated.

So, what can be the solution for such hesitancy? A well-informed vaccination drive, which can be achieved through an intelligent chatbot! Let’s discover how?

When it comes to vaccination, there are three major activities,

  1. Registration
  2. Vaccination
  3. Tracking

Here, EHR or Electronic Health Records become crucial as they offer vital data of people getting vaccinated. To create a seamless integration of EHR and logging of each patient data, you will need Software as a Service or SaaS-based software. It helps with APIs or Application Programming Interface that connect cloud storage with the user interface or web interface with which a user interacts.

Source: https://d1.awsstatic.com/whitepapers/covid-19-vaccine-digital-communication.pdf?did=wp_card&trk=wp_card

Entire architecture has four pillar services,

  • Registration interface
  • Service interface
  • Data Management and reporting system
  • Data aggregators or receivers

Registration Interface deals with the interaction part of any communication framework. It helps users to connect with the service interface for the exchange of data related to vaccination eligibility and health records.

Service Interface can be the UI of an application or web interface with a chatbot that collects vital data from the users through questionnaires and FAQs. Apart from the data exchange, the chatbot can also help users with intelligent solutions related to vaccine queries and even recommend nearest vaccination centers or ways to get the vaccine shot.

Data Management and reporting systems are related to activities like data storage, access control, and aggregation. It also enables data access to authorities or governments along with high security.

Such systems can be created by using cloud services from AWS or Microsoft Azure with integrations of AI-based algorithms that help with analytical data. For example, such a system can bifurcate between a number of first doses administered and second doses along with the timeframe, age group, and insights on the rate of vaccinations.

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3. Chatbots As Medical Assistants In COVID-19 Pandemic

4. Chatbot Vs. Intelligent Virtual Assistant — What’s the difference & Why Care?

Data aggregators or receivers are authorities that need data for planning the vaccination program. Based on the data, they can place vaccine orders to the pharma companies and procure the required dosages for an uninterrupted vaccination drive. In addition, analytical data from the data management systems can help them analyze different aspects of vaccination like scheduling, distribution centers, and rate.

Now that we have our framework ready let’s discuss creating a chatbot for a framework that enables smart interactions with the users.

Chatbots are intelligent pieces of software or computer programs built on innovative algorithms to mimic human conversations. However, they are not limited to just voice assistants or your average banking bots. Here are six types of chatbots that you can leverage to enable streamlined vaccinations.

Menu chatbots are the most basic chatbots used by several industries. These chatbots have buttons and menus for users to select the type of query they have, and it offers pre-written solutions from the database. But, again, these are basic chatbots and are great for symptom tracking and using the questionnaire form to determine eligibility for vaccination.

While these are the best chatbots you can have with minimalistic architecture, they don’t offer advanced functions. Especially for chatbots that need the integration of AI-based algorithms, menu architecture is not an ideal one.

Keyword-based chatbots work on the principle of indexing the best results related to that query. For example, SEO or Search Engine Optimization approach is used for website optimization, and with an AI-based algorithm integrated into your chatbot, you can use the same approach. These chatbots can leverage Natural Language Programming(NLP) and Machine Learning algorithms to analyze the keyword to index the exact information either from the web or the database.

Though duplicate information is indexed by some of the keyword-based chatbots, using them with a menu/button-based design can offer superior functionality. People looking to get vaccinated can search distribution centers by searching keywords based on location, vaccine options, and age group leveraging the chatbot.

One of the most significant challenges for vaccine distribution is enabling remote collaborations between different teams active on-site and administration. Here, you can leverage collaborative chatbots built on ML algorithms that interact with team chat apps or software and enable smart collaboration for the vaccination program. It can also allow the seamless exchange of vital user data between the administration and the on-site vaccination centers in real-time to avoid disruptions.

Rule-based chatbots have a fixed set of questions pre-defined to offer data to users. For building such a chatbot, you need to predict all the questions that users may ask. It may need your teams to consult with medical experts, patients, and vaccine candidates to help in generating reliable data. This information gathered by your team can be integrated into the ML algorithm, and through predictive analysis, you can predict the questions.

If you want to build an advanced chatbot for private vaccination programs, the hybrid model seems to be a perfect solution. Especially for corporates and enterprises to have in-house vaccination drives, hybrid chatbots can help.

Some countries are even reserving vaccine doses for private distribution purposes. For example, Imperial College of London is formulating an enterprise for a cheaper vaccination program for maximum immunization.

Authorities can enable voice-based chatbots that offer assistance to vaccine seekers through an app, web interface, or embedded software in the physical interface at the distribution center. These voice bots can interact with the users and help them with all the data related to vaccines. They can even track the vitals of immunized patients and record any side effects for immediate diagnostics.

Vaccination is the only weapon in the war against COVID, and a significant amount of immunization will be crucial for the entire world to beat the pandemic. However, innovations were not present with past pandemics like it is at the current state. Chatbots, along with a well-designed communication framework, can be the ultimate solution for authorities, governments, healthcare organizations, and vaccine manufacturers to fight COVID effectively.

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