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Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis – special category for 2021

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NRAS Patient Chatbot

by National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS)
with support from earthware

Summary of work

Over 400,000 people in the UK suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), an autoimmune condition that progressively causes damage and pain in the joints. In March 2020 at the beginning of lockdown, NRAS experienced an unprecedented 600% increase in the call volume from patients with RA and Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) concerned about the risk presented by COVID-19. The NRAS telephone support team were overwhelmed and needed a solution to help them respond to enquiries more efficiently.
Identifying a great opportunity to help reduce the burden on the NRAS’ helpline team at a time of crisis, earthware offered “Susan”, the first RA/JIA and coronavirus chatbot to launch in the UK, free of charge to NRAS. By combining a robust process of researching patients’ most common concerns and writing patient-friendly responses with cutting edge natural language processing AI, Susan was able to supplement the amazing work of NRAS’ patient helpline team and provide patients instant access to advice, 24/7. Additionally, “Susan” allowed the NRAS helpline team to focus on more complex enquiries that are best dealt with by a human.
Susan delivered great results, contributing to a 60% reduction in call volume from March 2020 to March 2021.

Judges' comments

The NRAS Patient Chatbot had an impressive speed of execution and was highly responsive, flexible and developed/adapted over time. It eased pressure on increased demand on NRAS helplines. The judges liked that it was patient centric, involving a patient and expert panel. It gave the client the ability to learn from the feedback they were getting and had very impressive results.


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NRAS Patient Chatbot - by National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS)
with support from earthware

Key dates

Entry deadline 26 August 2022
Extended entry deadline 2 September 2022*
*additional fee applies
Judging Day 6 October 2022
Company/Team of the Year Interviews 21 October 2022
PMEA Event 23 November 2022