OneConnect builds AI chatbot for Singapore Cancer Society to better support the cancer community

SINGAPORE, 25 October 2019 – OneConnect Financial Technology Co. Ltd. (OneConnect), an affiliate company of Ping An Group, today announced at the collaboration agreement signing ceremony, that it is building an artificial intelligence (AI) -enabled chatbot to aid the city state’s leading cancer-fighting charity, Singapore Cancer Society (SCS), to provide greater access to general cancer information and SCS’ programmes and services, so as to improve the quality of life for cancer patients, their families, and the public.

The information is customised to each individual based on their queries, and is derived from SCS’ research data and educational contents on cancer from national specialty centre for cancer – the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS).

According to he latest report by the National Registry of Diseases Office in Singapore[1], one in every four to five persons in Singapore develops cancer in their lifetime, and there has been an increase in the number of people diagnosed with cancer since 2010. At the same time, medical advancements and better palliative care have contributed to an increasing life expectancy of cancer patients. This means that there is now a more urgent need to use technology to better serve cancer patients and their caregivers, and remove frictions when accessing medical information and services. 

OneConnect believes in giving back to the community and using advanced technologies to solve real problems in today’s smart economy. The chatbot is built at no cost to SCS by OneConnect’s R&D team comprising a project manager, an architect, two full-time developers, and a UI designer over 200 man days. Applying Deep Learning and Neuro-mapping algorithms on a Natural Language Processing (NLP) model, the team trained the chatbot by varying 200 common questions to the desired answers based on SCS’ historical call records and data on useful information on cancer provided by NCCS.

In 2020, the online chatbot will be available to answer frequently asked questions, determine if a user is eligible for free SCS services such as mammogram, PAP test, HPV test, HPV vaccination and fit kit collection, and facilitate the booking of appointments. Using the chatbot, patients and caregivers can have their questions answered instantaneously and access cancer information, bypassing the need to be placed on hold over the phone when they dial into the call centres. While human officers will still be available for users who prefer talking to someone over the phone, the implementation of the chatbot will allow SCS’ call centre agents to focus on more urgent cases.

Mr Albert Ching, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Cancer Society said, “SCS is committed to deepening our engagement and support to the cancer community by providing seamless care. With rising cancer incidence, SCS understands the pressing needs and benefits of around-the-clock support and timely care services to the cancer community. For the past 55 years, we have been reaching out to the community to provide a holistic support system throughout their cancer journey. Leveraging on technology to meet the rising demand of cancer care in Singapore and co-developing this AI chatbot is important to the Society as it not only improves the productivity and efficiency of the Society in serving more and serving better, but empowers the public to be equipped with personalised information to manage their own health. Embarking on this project with OneConnect at this juncture as we commemorate our 55th anniversary this year gives us the opportunity to better engage the community meaningfully to come forward and do their part.”

Ms Tan Bin Ru, CEO of OneConnect Financial Technology said, “While AI will never truly replace having interactions with a human, I believe that it is the responsibility of our generation to leverage technology to tackle the problems that we see now. Emerging technologies are redrawing every landscape today. Even charity organisations are not spared. In line with Ping An’s commitment in giving back to society, we are using technology to enhance cancer patient and caregiver experience as well as augment human capabilities at work. I am very proud that OneConnect is part of this meaningful journey with SCS as we celebrate our first anniversary of expanding Ping An’s tech strategy to the region from Singapore. With our R&D team in Singapore and our proven AI engines that enable medical practitioners to remotely diagnose thousands of ailments in China, we can make a difference to cancer-fighting and patient care experiences in Singapore.”

As a responsible corporate citizen, OneConnect’s CSR efforts extend beyond developing a chatbot for SCS. 120 OneConnect employees visited homes of 80 SCS beneficiaries today. These cancer patients and their family members and caregivers were presented goodie bags containing a variety of daily necessities and household items including body lotion to help ease the discomfort on their skin caused by radiation and chemotherapy treatments, as well as toothpaste, cleaning detergent and cutlery such as ladle, forks and spoons.

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