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Risk communication is incorporated into an emergency response system. In Thailand, the Department of Disease Control (DDC) manages emergencies through the Emergency Operation Center (EOC). As a part of the EOC, the risk communication unit provides a hotline service that delivers information to and receives complaints and concerns from the general public. During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, a chatbot, which is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) was used to support the hotline service. This paper focuses on how to design an informative chatbot for the COVID-19 pandemic period that disseminates information to the general public. The chatbot, named “COVID-19 Preventable”, was created based on the Design Science Research Methodology (DSRM) under two cycles of design and development. At the early stage of development, information from reliable sources was transformed into a question and answer system and imported to natural language processing in the Dialogflow on Google Cloud. The chatbot was the first official chatbot to communicate on COVID-19 on behalf of public health authorities. It consists of seven prompt features, namely, a situation report, how to protect yourself from COVID-19, fake news, self-screening for COVID-19, a list of nearest hospitals, the hotline number to call, and report notification. The uniquely informative and dynamic chatbot is likely to be an alternative channel for disseminating timely information on COVID-19.
Keywords: COVID-19, chatbot development, risk communication, Thailand
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