SK Telecom Co. Ltd.

06/25/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/24/2020 18:34

SK Telecom’s Nugu Care Call Assists Healthcare Workers During COVID-19 Pandemic

SK Telecom (NYSE:SKM) today announced how its Nugu Care Call, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered automated check-in call service, is enhancing the work efficiency of healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Launched a month ago in Korea, Nugu Care Call is a service where SK Telecom's AI, Nugu, calls those under self-quarantine and active surveillance to check if they have developed any COVID-19 related symptoms such as fever, cough and sore throat.

For instance, when a public health center worker logs into the Nugu Care Call website and registers a person to be contacted, Nugu automatically begins calling him/her to monitor potential COVID-19 symptoms, and immediately uploads this data to the website, which can be accessed by the public health center personnel.

In addition, as Nugu Care Call is applied with SK Telecom's Natural Language Understanding (NLU), Speech to Text (STT) and Text To Speech (TTS) technologies, the calls it provides are more like conversations between humans rather than ARS calls that require simple yes or no answers. With the ability to understand complex expressions, it can accurately determine whether the person being monitored is developing COVID-19 symptoms.

Adopted by 20 public health centers in 18 cities within South Gyeongsang Province since May 20, 2020, Nugu Care Call has so far made a total of 24,000 calls (258 hours) to 2,442 people subject to self-quarantine and active surveillance.

Prior to the introduction of Nugu Care Call, in accordance with the Guidance of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local public health centers had to call those under self-quarantine and active surveillance within their district twice a day to monitor the occurrence of COVID-19 symptoms.

According to South Gyeongsang Province, the Nugu Care Call is effectively alleviating the workload of healthcare workers by reducing work associated with call-based monitoring for people under self-quarantine and active surveillance by 85 percent.

Moreover, around 40 percent of newly added COVID-19 patients over the past month in South Gyeongsang Province has been discovered by Nugu Care Call. Considering that the remaining 60 percent of patients were those who traveled from overseas, meaning that they were all required to undergo COVID-19 testing, Nugu Care Call has shown perfect/flawless performance in terms of monitoring.

Going forward, SK Telecom plans to add features customized to each local health center as well as AI call scenarios through close cooperation with South Gyeongsang Province and public health centers to better support healthcare workers on site.

'We are delighted that our Nugu Care Call is playing a meaningful role in reducing the overwhelming burden on healthcare professionals due to the coronavirus,' said Lee Hyun-a, Vice President and Head of AI Service Division at SK Telecom. 'We will continue to make efforts to create social value by developing Nugu-powered services.'