Baidu launches medical chatbot to help Chinese doctors diagnose patients

From The Verge:

Chinese search engine giant Baidu is launching a medical chatbot designed to make diagnosing illnesses easier. The conversational bot is named Melody and comes built into the company’s iOS and Android Baidu Doctor app, which launched in China in 2015. Baidu Doctor allows users to contact local doctors, book appointments, and ask questions, with the chatbot intended to speed up this process.

“What we found when operating Baidu Doctor is that when a patient asks a question, often the initial query doesn’t have enough information for a doctor to make the most confident decision,” Andrew Ng, chief scientist at Baidu’s Silicon Valley research center, tells The Verge. He says that what’s needed is a conversation where the doctor narrows down information about the patient’s symptoms. When did the headaches start, for example, and how long do they last; is the pain local or general, and so on.

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