The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) is the state’s only health sciences university. Located in Little Rock, Arkansas, its mission is to improve the health, health care and well-being of Arkansans and of others in the region, nation and the world. When the outbreak of COVID-19 spiked in March, concerned citizens overburdened UAMS staff with the surge of inquiries. “We had lots of people calling any number they could find at UAMS trying to get help. We knew what we had in our internal physicians call center was not going to be able to scale,” said Joseph Sanford, MD, Chief Clinical Informatics Officer and Interim Director of the Institute for Digital Health & Innovation, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Due to information around the COVID-19 virus changing in real time, the medical professionals at UAMS wanted to choose an adaptable AI assistant. watsonx Assistant’s ability to train quickly was a critical deciding factor for the team, allowing UAMS to turn an idea into a pilot within a week — and successfully communicate the latest COVID-19 information to users over the web and phone.

As UAMS saw success in their communication efforts with Watson, the team found expanding their use case critical during these times.
According to Kevin W. Sexton, MD, Associate Director, Institute for Digital Health & Innovation, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, “One of the benefits is looking at the responses and data that Watson collects. You’re able to see where the population has questions that you may not be answering directly on your website.” As users engaged with Watson and UAMS could see the conversation topics come in, medical professionals uncovered a considerable concern in the community among pregnant women and COVID-19. After analyzing chat log data, doctors trained watsonx Assistant specifically on pregnancy questions and screenings for pregnant women.

Also, after one month of going live, the team saw an increase in COVID-19 tests and an influx of questions regarding patients’ results. With watsonx Assistant, UAMS quickly created a workflow to provide COVID-19 lab results to individuals. Now, a small team analyzes the data weekly to ensure no patient question gets missed.

UAMS will continue providing reliable information to users across multiple channels, in both English and Spanish.
UAMS has found that Arkansans depend on watsonx Assistant, and about 20% of interactions are from repeat visitors! With success like this, the team recognized a need to support Spanish-speaking communities, so UAMS quickly trained watsonx Assistant in Spanish.

And it doesn’t stop with the patients; since UAMS is a university, the school also has to train Watson for student questions. UAMS has nursing, medical, pharmacy, and health professions students, all of whom want to help patients — so Watson now can provide information on how students can interact with patients safely.

Learn more and register for the webinar.

Was this article helpful?

More from watsonx Assistant

Chatbot examples: A beginner’s guide 

7 min read - A chatbot is a program or script designed to interact and respond to humans in real-time conversation. Different organizations and individuals employ chatbots for a variety of different uses and business functions. Broadly, chatbots provide pre-written responses and information to handle basic requests or to get enough information from customers to connect them to a live agent for better and more specific service. More advanced chatbots use machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and generative AI technology to generate real-time responses…

Beyond basics: Six tips for an exceptional customer service strategy

7 min read - Enhancing the customer experience through customer service is among the most important disciplines for any organization for one simple reason: without customers, organizations would fail overnight. Customer service, sometimes called customer care or customer support, relates to the activities organizations take to ensure their customers’ needs are being met. While every customer interaction is different, organizations that want to improve customer retention and grow their customer base must create an effective customer service strategy. Doing so requires combining customization with…

Transform digital experiences and unlock productivity with advanced generative AI

2 min read - AI and automation are driving business transformation by empowering individuals to do work without expert knowledge of business processes and applications. Whether it’s an employee who knows what they need but doesn’t know how to do it, a knowledge worker who knows how to do the task but needs help doing it more efficiently, or a customer who wants to resolve an issue but struggles with self-help tools, artificial intelligence (AI) unlocks new levels of productivity by empowering individuals to…

IBM Newsletters

Get our newsletters and topic updates that deliver the latest thought leadership and insights on emerging trends.
Subscribe now More newsletters