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NHS Digital and Ubisend Bring Boring Documents to Life With Chatbots

Business Insider reported three years ago that 80% of businesses will invest in chatbots by 2020. And it was not alone in making such predictions. So, where do we stand with this technology? Who is using chatbots and where? Read on to find out.

I recently saw a demonstration by ubisend, a British chatbot company whose customers include Google, Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, NHS Digital, and others. Ubisend presented a couple of examples of where it has helped to deploy chatbots.

One of the clients was the Clinical Safety Team at NHS Digital, a national provider of health and social care information, data, and IT systems in England, with the use case centering around clinical risk management courses that are delivered onsite.

These courses are very administration-heavy: they involve lots of pre- and post-course questions and interaction. (Which is probably a good thing!) They also involve a lot of standards covering processes and procedures that are typically written up as lengthy PDF documents. Obviously, no one wants to read long documents these days, hence the large volume of inbound email interactions and calls. To address this issue, NHS Digital partnered with ubisend to “bring these documents to life”.

Since most of the questions are about the training schedule or supplier standards, these two options are displayed permanently at the top of the chatbot. When a chatbot session is initiated, it immediately displays terms and conditions and asks the user to accept them. Next, the user can ask a question, for example: “What does a safety officer do?”

Source: NHS Digital Clinical Safety Team, accessed December 17, 2019.

But it gets better – the bot also delivers multimedia, such as the example below in response to a question about hazard logs. The user can view and download the two templates that are displayed.

Source: NHS Digital Clinical Safety Team, accessed December 17, 2019.

Our Take

While no information was shared around the ROI, this is a very clear use case that must be saving NHS significant resources and helping to reduce response times while delivering consistent levels of service and information reliability. NHS Digital seems to be expanding this service beyond Clinical Safety, with a virtual data assistant (ViDA) interactive tool that will answer questions about:

  • information on data NHS publishes
  • health statistics and indicators
  • the process for accessing data

Since consumers have enthusiastically embraced chatbots in the past few years, we will see more and more businesses deploying virtual assistants and chatbots. And while we are nowhere near the 80% adoption figure, chatbot vendors think that we could reach it in 2021-22.


Want to Know More?

Curious to see the NHS Clinical Safety Team chatbot for yourself? Try it here. See also: