Naver’s Voice Assistant Will Call to Check Seniors After Their COVID-19 Vaccination
Naver’s Clova voice assistant is calling senior citizens in Jeonju City, South Korea, after they get vaccinated for COVID-19 to see how they are feeling. The Clova CareCall service is testing the idea out in Jeonju City, with plans to expand to other parts of the country once the kinks are worked out.
Clova CareCall uses a database set up by Naver and the city’s government to dial the home phone numbers of people 75 and older for there days after they get vaccinated. The voice assistant asks how they feel and if they have any post-vaccination symptoms that could be a side effect of the shot. If they report not feeling well, the free service then connects them to a human who can determine how serious the side effects are and if they should set up a doctor’s appointment. Following up with people to make sure they don’t have any adverse reactions after vaccination is crucial, especially with older people who are more likely to have other health issues that exacerbate the side effects. Instead of employing a huge workforce of people to call every senior citizen, Clova acts like a proactive screener for the health system. Humans only need to jump in where it would actually be warranted.
“Vaccination is a mission that requires full cooperation from the public, fast and safe injections and a thorough response system by the local society,” Jeonju City Mayor Kim Seung-soo said in a statement. “Naver’s AI technology will lighten the burden for our human workforce and contribute to increasing the efficiency of the vaccination process.”
Contact Case Expansion
CLOVA CareCall is itself an extension of a similar contact-tracing program Naver started running last year. The company’s program in Seoul last summer made more than 1,000 phone calls every day and found around 1,500 people with potential COVID-19 symptoms that needed to be tested. iFlytek worked with local governments in South Korea and China to operate a proactive AI contact tracing program as well. Clova wasn’t the only voice AI developer trying out this kind of program in Korea last year, either. Then, in August, Seoul and IBM Watson launched a virtual assistant to help carry out a survey on how the pandemic affected people’s lives. The virtual assistant and survey are part of Seoul’s “I Care You” project to improve future policy decisions.
“The task itself is repetitive and the AI system can make multiple phone calls at once,” a Naver spokesman said. “It has a big advantage in terms of work efficiency.”
The demand for proactive voice AI in healthcare checks isn’t limited to Asia. Clinical health tech provider Wolters Kluwer, Health published an Alexa skill in November that prompts a patient to answer questions about their health after being discharged from the hospital. Just last month, Orbita debuted an automated conversational AI outreach tool that can text, email, call patients to discuss healthcare.