The medical profession is under increasing pressure. A global shortfall in healthcare workers will reach 12.9 million by 2035, according to the World Health Organization. And in China, the shortage of healthcare professionals is even more acute. In response to this, Chinese search engine Baidu launched a medical chatbot named Melody, designed to speed up the process of diagnosing patients.
Melody, announced in October, was created for Baidu’s Doctor mobile app. It uses advanced deep learning and natural language processing (NLP) technologies developed by Baidu, to support doctors by speeding up the process of diagnosis, and offering treatment options. The bot works by gathering information from patients in real time through questioning and comparing their responses with Baidu’s database of medical information. Wei Fan, senior director in Baidu’s Big Data Lab, commented, “With Melody, our goal is to provide patients with an online experience that is close to a human conversation. We believe this natural type of interaction will help patients feel more comfortable with their doctors and result in a more beneficial patient-doctor relationship.”
We’re seen some significant medical innovations that use technology to support the process of diagnosis: this startup that allows patients to order medical tests at home and view the results online, and this wearable chip that monitors sweat levels to detect if users are ill. Is the medical profession heading towards complete automation?