Teaming with Microsoft to combat the flu

January 12, 2021 Maryam Gholami

“Raising the water for all boats” is part of our DNA here at the Providence Digital Innovation Group. Our approach is to shape, build, and scale meaningful ideas here at Providence — and then offer them externally as a part of our mission of health for a better world. It’s a unique approach — and one that I’m quite proud to be a part of. It’s incredibly rewarding to build technology that has such a direct impact on people’s health — at scale.

Since last October, Providence’s flu season support feature has been helping patients get accurate and up-to-date information regarding the flu season, flu vaccination, treatment, and information on flu, as well as COVID-19. Providing relevant and trustworthy information to patients on flu vaccines is more important than ever, as getting flu vaccines will not only reduce patient’s risk from flu, but also help conserve potentially scarce healthcare resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. This feature is available in our chatbot Grace on the Get Care Now page and the Health Connect mobile applications.

In December, the Providence Digital Innovation Group and the Microsoft Health Bot team worked together to make this flu season support technology available as a scenario template in the Microsoft Azure Health Bot service catalog gallery. This will allow other Microsoft Azure Health Bot customers to quickly introduce flu season support in their own chatbot — which is so beautifully aligned with our mission. We are now the first health system to publish a scenario template in the Microsoft Azure Health Bot Service catalog gallery, and we offer this scenario for other health systems to use for free:


The Providence scenario template for flu combines information from multiple sources — both the CDC and Providence. It directs users to a vaccine location finder and provides a suggestion mechanism to users, arranged in simple, easy-to-navigate categories, as well as a mechanism to confirm users’ intent in case of a low intent-understanding confidence score. The scenario template includes FAQ menus and the corresponding flu FAQ. Customers can customize the disclaimer, topic hierarchy, and the FAQ content:

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how crucial collaboration and knowledge sharing are, to improve health care outcomes, and enhance patient trust. Building a community within the Microsoft framework ensures we can provide other healthcare organizations with the most up-to-date content on topics that are top-of-mind in public health.

I’m proud to be a part of a team here that is making it possible to share the best information quickly — at scale — through digital technology.

To hear more about the Providence Digital Innovation Group and how we partner with technology and health care organizations visit


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