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Baidu’s Melody – AI Powered Conversational Bot for Doctors and Patients

In View Summary

China’s public health system is notoriously antiquated. In an effort to facilitate a quick, efficient and meaningful flow of information between doctors and patients, Baidu has already integrated its Melody AI into the popular iOS and Android Baidu Doctor app, which allows patients to ask questions of doctors, book appointments or get health information in real time. Melody further complements this Doctor App as Baidu has designed it to converse with patients directly and collect data on their medical conditions. It is also capable of querying patients on things like the duration, severity, and frequency of their symptoms in order to deliver this data to doctors who then make an informed decision on treatment options.

At the core of the Melody system lies a proprietary deep learning and natural language processing (NLP) software developed by Baidu.

Melody is capable of querying patients on things like the duration, severity, and frequency of their symptoms, and can deliver this data to doctors who can then make an informed decision on treatment

Melody is designed to help both doctors and patients. By focusing on the medical assistant space, we’ve built a conversational bot that can give highly-customized and situation-appropriate responses to a patient’s query,” Baidu’s chief scientist Dr. Andrew Ng said in a statement. “As Melody has more conversations, it will learn and keep getting better. This is just the start of a much larger AI-driven transformation of the healthcare industry.

Currently, the Baidu Melody bot is only available in China, but Baidu is in discussions with healthcare services around the world, including Europe and the US, in a bid to expand into new markets.

Reported Benefits

Benefit to Customers

  • Help patients determine whether or not they should visit a doctor
  • Build more robust patient profiles before actual consultation
  • Saves time and makes medical consultation more accessible.

Benefit to the Insurer/Partner

  • AI enabled customer facing capacity
  • Digital customer engagement.

The Digital Insurer's View

Although intended to address the acute doctor shortage and with no direct implication to the insurance sector at this point in time, Melody has the potential to pioneer an entirely new sales and distribution channel, one driven by real time care and cross selling health insurance, as opposed to a sales orientated business model.

Ultimately, the insurance industry seems to have sensed the potential of chat bots as UK-based startup Spixii has already created an automated insurance agent that enables insurers to sell policies via mobile and chat applications.

Insurers who are considering whether to embrace AI and chatbots should take note of what has already been achieved by Baidu and Spixii. Failing to acknowledge the transformative potential of such technologies will make it difficult to compete in a digital world.

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