Chatbot Answers Questions about Maternal: Do you need some help with your baby’s health? The University of Maryland has just launched a new chatbot that will answer all the questions you have.
The new chatbot app called “MamaMD” was created to promote maternal, infant health. The app is designed for women from underrepresented races and ethnicities.
It will answer questions about the well-being of pregnant women and mothers with children in their care. In addition, MamaMD will provide information about how to spot developmental milestones in infants so parents can have wellness checkups when necessary.
To help design the app, Drs. Elizabeth Aparicio and Quynh Nguyen, two professors in the University of Maryland’s public health school held focus groups with women of color who told them what they’d prefer as a tool.
“We’re talking about some of the stress that we experienced as parents, and just the loneliness and isolation and the worry that parents have, mostly about their babies,” Aparicio said.
The chatbot will send messages about babies’ developmental milestones to parents so that they can take their children in for wellness checkups when necessary. They decided to tailor it toward women from underrepresented races and ethnicities.
The app has three main goals, Aparicio said: decreasing stress, reducing depression, and lowering emergency room visits by improving knowledge about infant health.
The chatbot will send developmental milestone reminders, she said, so parents will take their children in for wellness checkups.
“You don’t necessarily want to go to the web, nor do you have time to go to the web when you’re taking care of a baby … or you only have a few moments to spare,” Nguyen said.
“We need to make sure that those questions are off-limits, and we point them to the correct people,” she said.
Chatbot Answers Questions about Maternal, The National Institutes of Health is supporting the project through a $34 million grant.
The professors are still designing the bot, and once it is released it will be available as a phone application for free download in both English and Spanish languages. It can also be used on the web.
Jordan Boyd-Graber, a computer science professor, is working behind the scenes to help design the functions of the chatbot itself.
It’s important that it be able to answer certain questions like those asking for medical treatment because they aren’t doctors themselves; however, there are some things that need more information, he said.