ICMR selects IBM to implement Watson virtual agent on portal

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has teamed with IBM to implement a Watson virtual agent called Watson Assistant on its portal to respond to queries from front line staff and data entry operators from testing and diagnostic facilities on COVID-19.
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ICMR, Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has deployed the virtual agent on protected pages of the website that can be accessed only by authorized personnel who are involved with sample collection and testing in hospitals and diagnostic labs.

The queries could be related to nature and process of data to be captured by test labs, how to record inventory of test kits & reagents, process of reporting to various Government agencies and references to the latest guidance, in addition to responding to queries on COVID-19 in general, says Sandip Patel, general manager, IBM India/South Asia said.

“This collaboration with IBM will help automate responses from the field & facilitate access to accurate & updated data on COVID-19 diagnostics & reporting,” said Balram Bhargava, director general, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The AI-enabled Watson virtual agent will be able to respond to common queries in English and Hindi, from approved testing facilities for COVID-19 across India. Queries will be categorized under various headings such as Governance, Logistics, Data entry and sharing, Staff Training & Testing.

The virtual agent is also expected to help in on-boarding new data entry operators and staff of diagnostic centres, as the COVID-19 test network expands across the country.

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