Our Fortnightly Picks: 3 Noteworthy Health Slack Bots for April

In this fortnightly pick of Slack bots, we bring to you some of the noteworthy health chatbots. What I really liked about this week’s selection of chatbots is that they are all easy-to-use, easy to interact with, and most importantly, they are super-efficient — they do what they are supposed to do, well. So, without further ado, let’s get chatting about the3 apps that I think can help you deal with key aspects of your health:

Your.MD — Physical Wellbeing

I’m one of the few who like to investigate symptoms when they don’t feel well. I’m not exactly one of those paranoid androids yet. But still. I like to stay informed. So, if I have a bunch of symptoms, I will use a symptom sorter to find out more about it. But the problem with the ones I use is that they are all part of websites, which I have to first navigate, and second, wait as they take their time to load up. The result? A stressed out, unwell me. Naturally, when I found out about Your.MD, a chatbot that does all this and more, I had to check it out.

Your.MD is more than a symptom sorter. It also lets users ask questions, learn about health, discover new things and even type out their queries. This is how the conversation started — no hassles, no starting trouble:

As simple as 1, 2, 3 — quite literally

Every interaction with the bot is simplified and rather seamless, as all that you have to do is interact with it in numbers based on the options it provides. From quizzes that help you widen your understanding of health, fitness and wellbeing…

It’s a game of numbers, really

…To top tips that the bot picks off the internet based on the topic you’d like to know more about, Your.MD is kind of like a one-stop-shop for basic health and fitness queries.

However, one function that I found a little challenging was with the one where I could enter a question. After many failed attempts at trying to “find a dentist in Bangalore” and getting more info on “how many times in a day should I brush my teeth”, I finally found out that the ‘Let me type’ function works best when you input an issue, rather than ask a question. It then starts interacting again with numbers. From there on, things went pretty well with Your.MD.

It was all rainbows and fireworks from here on…

Joy — Emotional Wellbeing

For those who aren’t likely to get too excited about the idea of sitting with a psychologist for a chat about their feelings, Joy, a chatbot that’s designed as a personal happiness assistant, could be a great option. Much like Your.MD, Joy too provides a structured and streamlined experience. It begins chatting with you by stating that it will ask you 6 questions. I love structure, so this made for a great start for me.

Off to a great start!

Joy doesn’t make a diagnosis on the basis of the questions it asks you. Instead, it provides a virtual journal within the chat where you can log in how you feel and what made you feel that way. This helps the chatbot understand mood patterns and behaviours or events that contribute to it.

Depending on the cadence you select, Joy will check in with you on a daily basis or once in a few days. While Joy does not step in for a mental health professional or substitute one, it does help people manage their day-to-day stresses and mood shifts.

Flexbot — General Wellbeing

Flexbot introduces itself as a personal wellness bot. True to its purpose, it does exactly what it says it will. It keeps your wellness as top priority. The bot responds to a few select commands like /meditate or /yoga or /stretch. Once you input your command, Flexbot will search the web for videos relevant to your selection. This is what I got when I said /meditate:

Once you get the video, you are supposed to just practice what’s being shown — in this case, it was to just find a spot on the floor and meditate, which I did not do, of course. Once Flexbot shares a video with you, it will take into consideration the duration of the activity, and will ping you once the time has passed, to find out if you have finished it. I decided to be honest, and said that I did not do the meditation exercise. And Flexbot was quite nice about it:

No, thank you, Flexbot.

Alongside, Flexbot also takes into consideration your general wellbeing and asks questions about your water intake, sleep duration and other parameters. Based on your response, the bot will send you info tidbits. This is what I got when I said I drink only 4 glasses of water a day:

Flexbot hopes that this will do the trick and spur me to take action.

These three bots are easy to interact with and get information from, and don’t really stress you out, unlike some of the other bots that I came across. That’s a big plus in my book!