The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust introduces IBM AI virtual agent

The Royal Marsden NHS FT is to introduce an AI virtual agent using IBM Watson to support key workers post lockdown.

The technology, ‘Ask Maisie’, will use IBM Watson Assistant to provide key workers access to the latest COVID-19 HR related information, policies and workplace guidance as the country eases lockdown measures.

It includes advice for high risk workers, how to self-isolate, what happens when you receive an official shielding letter, what to do if your child is off school and how to safely come back into the workplace.

The tool will be used to provide answers to common questions by using the virtual agent based on Natural Language Processing capabilities.

The trust said ‘when COVID-19 struck, it created an unprecedented flood of information requests from hospital workers into its human resources team. This put an immediate strain on resources as employees looked for answers about childcare, shielding, workplace arrangements, testing and more. The Royal Marsden has been working with IBM at pace to create a virtual agent that will help deliver the support that so many key workers need while reducing the strain on the human resources team.’

Andreas Haimböck-Tichy, Director, Healthcare and Life Sciences, IBM UK and Ireland “As the pandemic evolves so have the long term implications on healthcare which include a growing expectation for immediate and remote access to trusted information. This has led to many healthcare providers accelerating digital transformation plans to give clinicians time to focus on patients alongside helping to manage the physical and mental health of their key workers.”

“Digital transformation in healthcare is not just limited to the clinical environment. Modern technology has an incredible potential to change the way a hospital operates for the better and help revolutionise the care patients receive.”

Ask Maisie is available at any time to provide consistent information across a range of topics. The responses are based on information from trusted sources including the hospital’s official workplace policy handbook as well as national bodies such as NHS England.