ParentCoach: An interactive chatbot for first-time parents



Aiming to support first-time parents who otherwise lack the experience or support for this daring time, the ParentCoach project consists of an interactive chatbot that will provide accurate - easy-to-understand - information, giving the necessary support in postnatal healthcare. The goal is to avoid bigger health problems or complications in the future.

The ParentCoach project kicked-off in the beginning of the year and aims to democratize access to neonatal information. Starting from a previous chatbot – Aurora - designed for Portuguese parents with a focus on sleeping issues and breastfeeding, the project wants to further develop the technology, to support parents based on the previously most asked questions, while also adapting it to the South African context. This means that besides including a new range of neonatal issues, the chatbot will also have relevant information about common health risks in the South African context, such as mother-to-baby HIV transmission, poor nutrition, among others.

To adjust the chatbot to the target audience, FhP-AICOS will be responsible for the development of user research activities that will rely on interviews, observation sessions and participatory design sessions on both countries. The input and perspective of parents, families and healthcare professionals will help to create a digital solution that accurately answers – in the right moment – the most pressing questions from parents.

With a budget of over 242.000€, the project counts on the experience of Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, Aurora Tech AI, the University of Cape Town and the Wits Health Consortium to develop a decentralised digital health solution and to promote, through exchange activities and two “summer schools”, the importance of user research when developing projects of this nature.