Clickability tracking pixel

Michigan HHS Introduces Chatbot for COVID-19 Queries

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced an automated online assistant to help residents find accurate information about the novel coronavirus. The tool will provide responses to common inquiries.

by The Daily Telegram / May 18, 2020
Shutterstock/Tero Vesalainen

(TNS) — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has recently launched a new automated online assistant that is designed to help Michiganders easily access the latest information about the COVID-19 pandemic.

The name of the new online assistant is Robin, which was developed by IBM, and is referred to as a Chatbot. Robin interprets users' questions and directs the flow of the conversation by providing the most likely and informed response. Robin also searches for the information it needs to respond to questions based on the database it is built upon. It can also identify gaps in service and information to more efficiently address needed resources.

Find Robin in the lower right corner of the screen at michigan.gov/coronavirus.

"Information about this outbreak is changing rapidly and there's a great deal of misinformation online," Robert Gordon, MDHHS director, said in a news release. "Robin, our new chatbot, is an easy, interactive way for Michiganders to get their questions answered without frustrating wait times. Every moment counts in our fight to increase awareness and education and slow the spread of the virus."

Robin will also provide a centralized, first line of response to common inquiries. The release said this will help reduce confusion and frustration and make it easier for Michiganders to receive the answers they are in need of.

Since March 14, the COVID-19 hotline team has answered more than 26,000 calls. Robin is designed to ease up on that number of calls and to reduce the call waiting time.

For questions that cannot be answered by Robin, users will be directed to email COVID19@michigan.gov, or they will be directed to call the COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136, which is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. Public health experts answer the health-related questions about the coronavirus and can also direct residents, providers and others to resources that are available to them in their local communities.

Robin and its call center staff cannot provide individual clinical advice or a diagnosis. Those who believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 and are symptomatic are encouraged to call their health care provider. Those who do not have a health care provider, should call their nearest urgent care center and ask about COVID-19 testing.

Testing sites nearest you can be located at michigan.gov/coronavirus. The latest information on the virus pandemic can be found at michigan.gov/coronavirus or at cdc.gov/coronavirus.

©2020 The Daily Telegram, Adrian, Mich. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Looking for the latest gov tech news as it happens? Subscribe to GT newsletters.

Platforms & Programs