AI and Machine Learning Are Helping in the Fight Against COVID-19
In a world afflicted with the novel coronavirus, healthcare technologies and patient interactions have had to adapt as fast as possible to the rapid changes brought on during the pandemic. Technologies like AI and machine learning abruptly became an important solution to how we conduct healthcare, as well as scaling up our research and understanding of COVID-19 and how it spreads.
Whether it’s creating more accurate customer communications or digital diagnoses to speed up treatment, these technological innovations are changing the healthcare landscape while simultaneously strengthening our response to the coronavirus.
Data-Driven COVID Forecast
Machine Learning is being used to digest and interpret massive amounts of data, creating a model able to forecast the spread of the coronavirus and identify vulnerable populations. Researchers at Chan Zuckerberg Biohub in California have used this technology to construct a model that estimates the number of undetected COVID-19 infections and the consequences to public health.
This model is also tracking how the virus mutates as it spreads through populations while also inferring how many transmissions have been missed. With this information, we can more accurately direct testing, medical care, and quarantine directives to the most at-risk populations.
Digital Doctor’s Office
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has drastically relaxed regulations that previously limited telemedicine in order to allow patient evaluation without direct contact in the hopes of reducing COVID-19 spread.
Startups like Clevy.io in France have created an AI chatbot for finding up-to-date information on COVID-19 from local governments and organizations like the World Health Organization. People need real-time data on everything from symptom assessment and COVID-19 exposure risk to the best tips for safely exercising. These technologies relieve the strain of government officials and healthcare providers, allowing the public to quickly and effectively access the information they need.
If an individual realizes they are high risk or fears they are displaying COVID-19 symptoms, they can video chat with their healthcare provider to decide whether testing is appropriate or how to begin treatment. Distanced communications and controlled care coupled with risk and exposure data better equips the healthcare industry to treat coronavirus patients while reducing virus spread.
Prioritizing High-Risk Patients
The AI-driven startup Closedloop uses healthcare data to identify high-risk patients with the possibility of severe complications from COVID-19 by developing an open-sourced COVID-19 vulnerability index. This AI-based predictive model is being used by healthcare systems, care management organizations, and insurance companies to identify the individuals most at risk. Once identified, the patients receive information on the importance of handwashing and social distancing as well as offering them services such as food delivery, toilet paper, and other essentials so they can stay at home.
Life-Saving Search Engine
CORD-19 is an open research data set built on more than 128,000 research papers and other materials. Through machine learning, this dataset can extract relevant medical information and deliver it via robust natural-language query capabilities. Think of it as Alexa or Siri that knows everything available on COVID-19.
Researchers and medical practitioners can ask CORD-19 simple or complex questions, and it will search the dataset in an instant to give them an immediate answer.
These are only a few of the ways that machine learning and AI are being employed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and learn more about treatment options and potential cures.
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