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AskNDCS Chatbot – Helping Patients Anywhere, Anytime

Launched last month, AskNDCS is an Artificial-Intelligence powered chatbot that offers patients round-the-clock dental triaging and appointment booking. Word of Mouth speaks to the Mr Ricky Hi, Director of Operations about this chatbot.

Faces of our AskNDCS Chatbot Workgroup, from left to right: (top row) Ms Michelle Lim Soong Cheng, Mr Ricky Hi Cheong Leong, Mr Xu Jianxiong, Dr Wu Siwen, (middle row) Dr Phang Zi Ying, Dr Yang Jingrong, Dr Bien Lai Wen Pui, (bottom row) Ms Evelyn Quek Hui Qi, Dr Qian Li, Dr Koh Chu Guan.

The chatbot aims to relieve the anxiety of patients suffering from pain and discomfort due to dental disorders, as they will be able to book an appointment with NDCS even when our call centres are closed. Besides dental triaging, AskNDCS addresses frequently asked questions relating to NDCS’ services such as way-finding, billing enquires. Coupled with natural language processing engine, AskNDCS is able to predict user’s intent and respond with the most appropriate answers.

The idea of a triage chatbot started way back in 2017, according to NDCS’ Director of Operations Mr Ricky Hi Cheong Leong, who spearheaded this project. While he acknowledged that there were some initial challenges along the way, such as having to look for funding and securing a suitable vendor, the issues were eventually ironed out thanks to the workgroup’s team efforts.

In fact, “the fun part was actually working with the team as we had spent a lot of time trying out different things and talking to different people,” said Mr Hi. “We were also fortunate to have a constructive vendor who took every technical difficulty as an engineering challenge. As clinical triage rules are never straightforward, we had to ensure that every clinical referral works in tandem with the NDCS business workflow while being very mindful of our patients’ health and safety.”

He is also grateful that all members of the workgroup were generous in providing their views and opinions so as to make this project a success. “The chatbot is ultimately for our patients. Now that the chatbot is launched, I feel proud and accomplished for NDCS. This is perhaps the only public dental triage chatbot in Singapore.”

The completion of the chatbot project would not be possible without the inputs and support of the NDCS’ management, Infection Prevention and Control Chairperson Dr Chelsia Sim and Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Consultant Dr Rahul Harshad Nagadia, IHiS Project Manager Mr New Wei Lee, colleagues from SingHealth Call Centre Shared Service Ms Tan Soil Bian, Mr Justin Cheng Eng Cheong and Ms Ong AI Chen, and the team from SingHealth Patient Advocacy Network (SPAN).

Special thanks goes to the members of AskNDCS workgroup:
• Mr Ricky Hi Cheong Leong, Director, Operations
• Mr Xu Jianxiong, Manager, Operations
• Ms Evelyn Quek Hui Qi, Executive, Healthcare Management Executive Unit
• Ms Michelle Lim Soong Cheng, Executive, Operations - Office of Patient Experience
• Ms Queena Naomi Chua, Senior Executive, Corporate Communications
• Dr Wu Siwen, Consultant, Endodontics, Department of Restorative Dentistry
• Dr Bien Lai Wen Pui, Senior Consultant, Paediatrics, Department of Restorative Dentistry
• Dr Koh Chu Guan, Senior Consultant, Periodontics, Department of Restorative Dentistry & Chief Medical Informatics Officer
• Dr Phang Zi Ying, Registrar, Prosthodontics, Department of Restorative Dentistry
• Dr Qian Li, Associate Consultant, Department of Orthodontics
• Dr William Koh Teck Yeow, Registrar, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
• Dr Yang Jingrong, Head and Consultant, Geriatric Special Care Dentistry Clinic, Department of Restorative Dentistry

Click on the icon on the bottom right corner of the NDCS webpage to begin chatting with AskNDCS today!