University of Maryland, School of Public Health - Chat Health

06 Apr 2020 1:59 PM | Anonymous

Chat Health Launches Platform to Provide Personalized

COVID-19 Information


(originally posted on UMD SPH news page)

March 31, 2020

Want to know if the symptoms you are having are allergies or a mild case of COVID-19? Ask Chat Health.

Beginning this week, a new web platform developed by UMD public health students will provide quick and curated access to information about COVID-19. Chat Health uses new technologies to provide accurate information and resources for users to stay healthy during this pandemic. The site will link users to Twitter news feeds, question and answer pages, resource documents and two AI Chatbots which will automatically answer questions relating to diagnosis, testing, prevention and resources to students affected by COVID-19. Users can either find answers via an options-based chatbot or text COVID-19 questions over SMS, where each question will be reviewed and answered by a student volunteer on a secure Chat Health portal. 

Chat Health is a not-for-profit organization started by UMD students in 2019  with the goal of improving the accessibility and uptake of preventative health resources for students via new technologies. Led by biological sciences and health sciences, policy and technology major Veeraj Shah and computer science major Neil Johnson, their ChatHealth concept won one of the prizes in the Gold Public Health Innovation Award competition in 2019. They are now joined by Jesse Anderson, an information science and neuroscience major, who is working on the telegram bot for the COVID-19 platform. Neil Sehgal, assistant professor of health policy and management and a leader in digital health technology, is the faculty mentor for the Chat Health Team. 

Shah is recruiting public health students who are willing to commit 2 hours/week to volunteer to staff the secure portal and validate questions about COVID-19 asked by users. 

Volunteers will:

  • Utilize CDC and WHO resources to provide targeted responses to user questions

  • Work to conduct quality improvement on our web-platform working with the Chat Health development team

  • Work in selected hour-long shifts throughout the week (preferable 2 shifts/week or more)

Contact Veeraj Shah at veerajpshah@gmail.com for more information or volunteer. You can visit the Chat Health website here.

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