Leo and Mira are the virtual health assistants of Medcare Hospitals and Medical Centres in Dubai and Sharjah.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
SHARJAH: Meet Arabic and English-speaking Leo and Mira. They are the latest addition to the quality healthcare delivery system of one of the leading private chains of hospitals and clinics in Dubai and Sharjah.
The press met artificial intelligence-ignited/algorithm-controlled Leo and Mira on Monday in Dubai, when they were launched as the virtual health assistants that will help navigate patients to the right medical specialists of Medcare at the quickest time possible, among other services.
Technically speaking, humanoids Leo and Mira are known as the “chatbots,” one of the rising recent innovations—from a 1960s computer system discovery—adapted by the hospital management for more effective patient reach and seen operational over the company’s website since Monday morning.
A source said one of the reasons why Leo and Mira were pursued is the increasing GCC-wide patient demand in recent years from the healthcare system comprising four hospitals, two speciality clinics and 12 multi-speciality medical centres.
Aster & Medcare Hospitals and Clinics-GCC executive director and chief executive officer (CEO) Alisha Moopen said, “In life, getting to a doctor when you are sick is a stressful experience. When you add to the experience having to call a call centre to schedule an appointment, it is very frustrating. We thought of this as we (empathise) with our patients. It is a solution and a system that helps and enables our patients to have the right information at the right time for their healthcare needs.”
She added the pursuit is aligned with the host government pathway towards innovation and becoming one of the Smart Cities in the world.
Project in-charge Medcare Hospitals and Medical Centres Group CEO Andre Daoud said the endeavour took four months to accomplish with issues and concerns regarding appointment bookings and appointment cancellations asked from patients.
They found out through the patients’ survey that booking for appointments and even cancelling appointments have become challenging and to some extent burdensome.
He said Leo and Mira were developed because the “patients indicated the end for an end-to-end online solution that empowers them to take control of their personal healthcare journey.
“It is the patients who gave Leo and Mira their names,” Daoud added.
As for Gulf Today’s clarificatory question, Daoud said Leo and Mira “are not diagnosing” though they will help patients give specifics about their pain/s.
They point each patient to the right physician among the 350 medical specialists as each patient is given the liberty to choose the doctor he wants to attend to him, the hospital/clinic/centre he wants to go to and his appointment schedule within the tested time-frame of 120 seconds. They will assist the patient on health insurance enquiries and provide him with the results of all his diagnostic tests.
Daoud said 37 improvements had been injected on Leo and Mira since tested among 20 patients and 20 Medcare employees.
Eighty-three per cent or 33 of the 40 “loved the real time appointment booking.”
More enhancements will be done on Leo and Mira as they deal round-the-clock with patients across the Gulf and as they are “fully-backed” by the medical specialists. It is possible that Leo and Mira are going to be integrated into the Aster chain of hospitals and clinics spread in nine countries, but this may take time, according to the source.
Meanwhile, recent global market research revealed that the healthcare chatbot market valued at $123 million in 2018 is expected to generate approximately $470 million by 2025.
The UAE is expected to experience the surge due to the high percentage of Internet users, increasing digital awareness and government investments in the healthcare infrastructure.
Last year, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) announced the launch of an online chatbot platform ‘Jawab,’ which has been designed and developed to effectively respond directly and automatically to enquiries from exhibitors, organisers and visitors on all event-related aspects, including the diverse range of services provided by ADNEC.
With this launch, ADNEC becomes the first venue within the exhibitions and conferences sector in the MENA region to launch a customer interactive machine learning chatbot.
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