NHS Wales Health Board to launch virtual assistant

Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board has launched its Welsh and English-speaking virtual assistant called CERi, developed using IBM’s Watson Assistant.

The Health Board has worked with IBM and Meridian IT to develop the virtual assistant to support patients, healthcare workers and the general public by answering questions and to provide information on the prevention and management of COVID-19.

It uses natural language processing tech to communicate and answer questions and provide information about COVID from trusted sources.

The virtual agent is accessed via the Health Board’s website https://cwmtafmorgannwg.wales/ask-ceri/.

Dr Phil Webb, Head of Value Based Healthcare at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, said:We are extremely proud to be working with IBM and Meridian IT and our local community, patients and staff to develop and now launch CERi.”

“From our testing we have already seen significant user interaction and even had over 400 chat episodes recorded in one day. Now launched we expect this level of interaction to grow rapidly, as we expand CERi with different access points.”

The Welsh Ambulance Service Symptom Checker has also been integrated into the virtual agent to provide easy access for people to assess their clinical signs and symptoms. Health Board employees can also access information on the virus and hospital policies.

The Health Board has made its question and answer content used to train the virtual agent available on an open source basis via Github. (https://github.com/IBM/corobot).

Andreas Haimboeck-Tichy, Director, Healthcare and Life Sciences, IBM UK & Ireland “Innovation is not just limited to the clinical environment; it is also about how the NHS and the health and care system connect with people. This is a great example of how technology can be used to empower the citizens.” 

“This virtual agent uses AI and natural language processing capabilities to demonstrate how technology can be employed by the Health Board to further enhance the stellar work already being carried out by our healthcare professionals.”