Baidu, China’s answer to Google, is launching a new built-in chatbot for its popular medical app Baidu Doctors. Developers hope that the bot, name Melody, will mitigate time for health care professionals who are already overburdened in the densely populated country. The aim is to speed up the process of finding a local doctor, booking an appointment, narrowing down what the patient has and performing initial basic triage.

Google has also stepped up their game when it comes to people searching for medical content — their new filtered medical search connects patients with legitimate resources for their health.

The Baidu application uses reactive and responsive AI to gather information from the patient and assist doctors’ diagnoses with Baidu’s natural language and learning processing systems. This is similar to other apps like Your.MD and Babylon health, both apps use a bot that asks patients questions similar to Baidu’s.

The aim of this technology, however, isn’t meant to replace health care professionals, but make their jobs easier. The chief scientist at Baidu’s Silicon Valley research center, Andrew Ng, told The Verge, “By gathering more information for the doctor we believe it will help them make better diagnoses.” Ng states all the data that is collected is encrypted although it’s apparently “logged” — which does raise privacy concerns.

baidu chatbot app