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Moorfields launches virtual assistant hosted on IBM Cloud

Artificial intelligence has been harnessed to field questions on a new £344m proposal to shift Moorfields Eye Hospital to a new building in King’s Cross


A new virtual assistant will help patients and members of the public with questions they have about a £344m plan to move Moorfields Eye Hospital and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology to a new King’s Cross facility.

The artificial intelligence (AI) technology, which has been trained to answer more than 500 questions, was developed using IBM Watson Assistant and is hosted on the IBM Cloud.

Queries the Oriel Assistant can provide information on include the location of the proposed new site, its accessibility and how the move will impact younger patients, staff and private patients.

The tool will monitor and analyse the questions it receives to learn from the interactions it has with members of the public and staff.

Oriel Assistant is compatible with screen readers while font size and contrast can be adjusted, making the tool accessible for visually impaired users.

As well as providing information on the proposal, the virtual assistant will ask relevant questions from the consultation where appropriate.

Answers gathered by Oriel Assistant will then be fed into the consultation, which closes on 16 September.

The virtual assistant is the first product from the Moorfields AI Assistant Project.

Future planned developments include harnessing the technology to respond to day-to-day patient queries about the hospital, patient appointments and patient care.

Image credit: Pixabay