PRIME (Pandemic Response and Incident Management for Emergencies) BOT
PRIME BOT was a part time effort where employees got together to build technology-centered solution for a real world covid problem. The result was a ServiceNow bot, built over two weekends that could not only answer pertinent questions on COVID-19 but also increase the probability of finding a hospital bed and potentially save lives.
COVID-19 in India, especially the second wave was an unprecedented event where our entire healthcare system was overwhelmed. Many employees, friends and family who were affected by COVID-19 were looking for help across many fronts, such as:
- Hospital Beds
- Medicine availability
- Plasma donations
- Oxygen cylinders and concentrators
Problems and/or pain points faced by people
When someone needed a hospital bed, they faced a range of problems including:
- Online information on hospital bed availability
- Multiple possible information websites such as:
- State hospital website
- Emergency COVID clinic websites
- Volunteer collected information in spreadsheets
The structure of information available was different across these sources and the frequency and time at which they were updated were very different.
If the list of hospitals and numbers were available – other issues faced were:
- Number not reachable
- Invalid number
- No answer
- No beds available
Manually looking for information across various websites, collecting phone numbers and trying to find a bed is a strenuous and a long-winded task. I personally experienced a 36-hour search to find a bed for a family member. During the peak, it was sometimes too late to find a bed and lives were lost because information was not available at the right moment. Sometimes the beds would get filled in few minutes because of the rush, making the information available transient and volatile.
PRIME bot Solution
*- Proof of Concept for (Instagram and Google) was finished but not included yet in the solution.
The bot fetches hospital bed, oxygen cylinder, concentrator, medicine information in the back end from various sources. Since hospital bed was the most sought-after topic at that time, the bot also does the following
- Users can reach the bot via slack or using a web frontend
- It crawls for information from various sources (see aforementioned list as example)
- For contacts pulled from websites like covidbeds.com or state covid websites (more than 30 sites across the country);
- The bot would make a backend call to make sure the number to be given to the user is valid
- Someone is picking up at the hospital.
- Searches for twitter near real time information on hospital beds extracts out information like hospital name, phone number, type of bed (normal, oxygen, ventilator or ICU Beds)
- Searches on predefined list of Instagram sites, get the pic, extracts text from the PIC using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and extracts out needed information.
- The google connector was to show nearest hospitals where beds were available to the user visually.
- The bot then assimilates all the information and then ranks them in a manner that provides the highest probability of finding a hospital bed for the user.
- Send the information to the user via Email or even WhatsApp with a click to call on mobile
- Reduces searches from hours to a few seconds with contact numbers that have the highest probability of finding a bed (sorted by highest number of free beds available).
- Done as a part time project over two weekends mostly by ServiceNow volunteers (developers, testers and content finders)
- Hundreds of searches done on the bot – Saved lives by providing timely and real time information.
- Another example where techies used technology to solve a real world problem.
Sample Results from the Bot
Article By: Jebakumar Swvigaradoss