Queensland Health deploys state-of-art-technology to support community

An insatiable demand for COVID-19 information, which included a 100-fold increase in private Facebook messages, has led to Queensland Health using artificial intelligence as part of its pandemic response.

Queensland Health was the first health department in Australia, to employ a Facebook chatbot, which has been answering Queenslanders’ COVID-19 questions for over a year.

Snapshot as at 3 June 2021:

  • 960,942 social media comments received
  • Over 826,000 Facebook private messages
  • Over 20,094 media calls and email enquiries
  • 9476 enquiries via the website

The chatbot delivers vital COVID-19 information to people at their fingertips, by automating instant replies to private messages round-the-clock, and resolves users queries on Facebook Messenger without the need for staff to intervene.

Executive Director, Strategic Communications Branch, Robert Hoge said Queensland Health deployed its AI-powered virtual assistant on 27 March, just weeks after the state’s first confirmed COVID case.

“Queenslanders wanted timely, engaging information from a source they trusted,” he said.

“Between January and April last year, engagement across our social media platforms soared by 450 percent in a matter of months, with 3.9 million comments, reactions, clicks and shares, and more than 10,000 private messages in a single month.

“We had no manual to manage this pandemic, but it did give us the opportunity to think about getting information to the public when, where and how they wanted it.”

Queensland Health’s Creative, Social and Digital Media Manager, Elise Meakin said engagement across social channels was key during the pandemic response.

“Our team was at the frontline responding to community questions, fact checking and providing information during a rapidly evolving public health emergency. But there was only so much we could do,” Ms Meakin said.

“One of the most successful additions of the Queensland Health chatbot was the COVID-19 testing clinic function enabling users to quickly and easily locate a clinic nearest to them.

“This tool has been critical in getting more Queenslanders tested. By creating this simple tool and promoting it via Facebook we saw a direct real-world impact in the form of increased testing numbers at the clinics most viewed in our locator tool.”

Ms Meakin said to date over 64,000 people have used the chatbot to find COVID-19 information and 20,000 have subscribed and received almost 100 health alert notifications.

“Notably the average chatbot to human handover rate is only 10 per cent. This means the chatbot successfully answers most users queries without the need for human intervention,” she said.

“Additionally, our users love interacting with the chatbot with almost 70 per cent of those surveyed saying they find it useful.”

Connect with the Queensland Health Chatbot today: https://m.me/QLDHealth

To check out how the Queensland Health Chatbot works watch this video: https://vimeo.com/557844544/ea1142ee68

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