A virtual assistant to help doctors in their daily work

When you are a doctor, your medical knowledge will need to be constantly updated to keep up with the latest advancements and rapidly changing technology so that you can offer the most suitable treatment available. It’s also important to have a strong understanding of people as individuals as the best options vary between each patient and each has their own needs, feelings, thoughts and fears. This is more true when your profession leads to come into contact with pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers.

Breastfeeding is the biological way of providing infants and young children with the nutrients required for optimum growth and development. Women receive perinatal care from a range of health professionals that include general practitioners, nurses, obstetricians, paediatricians. Women often describe breastfeeding information and advice as inconsistent. Health professionals should provide all new mothers and their families with appropriate information regarding the risks of taking or not some drugs during breastfeeding.

Doctors use technology to communicate with patients, improve the efficiency of patient care and record-keeping, implement more effective medical treatments, and increase communication with other doctors. Many of us today have used and seen the capabilities of conversational software systems such as Siri or Cortana. The ability to have a conversation with a virtual assistants can really change and improve the quality of health professionals work.

Messaging is the number one way people are connecting today, messaging apps (Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Kik, WeChat …) are now bigger than social networks and all of them offer the opportunity to run messaging apps called bots. Bots are text-based services which let users complete tasks such as checking news, organising meetings, respond to queries and troubleshoot problems.

“People are now spending more time in messaging apps than in social media and that is a huge turning point. Messaging apps are the platforms of the future and bots will be how their users access all sorts of services.” —  Peter Rojas (Betaworks)

SafedrugBot © is chatbot messaging service that offers assistant-like support via the Telegram messaging app to the health professionals, doctors who need appropriate information about the use of drugs during breastfeeding. SafedrugBot offers readily accessible drug information guides for health professionals who work with pregnant and breastfeeding women, it is a virtual assistant that can perform a variety of task.

Most drugs have two names: the active ingredient and the brand name. The active ingredient identifies the chemical in the medicine that makes it work. The brand name is the name given to the medicine by its manufacturer.

SafedrugBot can performs different types of searches to find important informations on active ingredient or brand name drugs.

The “Information on drugs” command can give information related to active ingredient and alternative medicines. A lot of people don’t realise that herbal remedies, vitamins, minerals and nutritional supplements, are all medicines too and can interact with women health and wellbeing. When health professionals recommend the use of a medicine it is important to pay attention and see whether the substance that patients should take is compatible with their state of the pregnant woman or brestfeeding mother. The Bot provides verified information about the drugs and always citing the source of the data obtained.

Using the “Active ingredients” command, the health professionals can find the active ingredients and recognise when two different brands are the same medicine and understand the compatibility of the drug with breastfeeding.

The “Alternative drugs” command can be used to identify suitable alternatives to a specific drug. A possible use case is when breastfeeding women, women who are pregnant are traveling, for example in a foreign country. Most travelers does not always have access to the usual medicines and so they needs to use alternative medicines available at the moment. Also this Bot command is very useful to check that the patient is not taking a medicine she is allergic to, or shouldn’t be taking with other medicines.

It is very important to understand that the SafedrugBot acts like an assistant to the medical personnel and should not be thought to be used by people without medical training. Deliver the information to the medical users via chat has the potential to truly empower the individual and the decisions made between patients and professionals. SafedrugBot aims to use the free and available open science data to help healthcare professionals to monitor the health of the women in one of the most important moment of their life.