A CHATBOT designed to complete administrative tasks will roll out in more communities as part of a joint effort between Save the Children Philippines and Johnson & Johnson Philippines, Inc., to improve newborn and maternal healthcare. 

“Introducing chatbots into the healthcare system can support the healthcare professional-patient relationship, as this helps residents to be able to access health information, and book appointments more efficiently,” said Riel S. Andaluz, senior manager for partnerships at Save the Children Philippines, in an e-mail.  

Target communities are located in Taguig, Muntinlupa, Pateros, and Parañaque in the National Capital Region; and in Cotabato City, Shariff Aguak, and Datu Odin Sinsuat in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.  

“Adapting technology into the health units’ processes can support HCWs [healthcare workers] to significantly lessen their workloads, by offloading repetitive processes to the chatbot,” she added. 

Since it went live in October 2021, the chatbot developed by reach52, a health-tech platform, has been used by 87 HCWs across four barangays to book appointments for patients. It has recorded 182 engagements to date.  

Of the 144 individuals that successfully booked appointments via the bot, about 95.8% opted for prenatal checkup while around 2.8% preferred a postpartum checkup.  

“Due to the pandemic, numerous services, including the provision of public health services, are under strain,” Ms. Andaluz told BusinessWorld. “This especially can impact the more vulnerable communities.”  

The chatbot is part of a larger three-year project launched in 2021 by Save the Children Philippines and Johnson & Johnson Philippines, Inc., which aims to help pregnant women and women of reproductive age by reducing information barriers. 

“We’re looking forward to continue building on our joint commitment with J&J Philippines to inspire innovation for children most in need,” said Ms. Andaluz. “Through this partnership, we are helping more children and moms have healthier and happier lives.”  

In 2022, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported 468 maternal deaths in the first six months of 2022, an increase from 425 maternal deaths the year prior. — Brontë H. Lacsamana