Chatbots for Coronavirus: Detecting COVID-19 Symptoms with Virtual Assessment Tool

by March 19, 2020 0 comments


In times of crisis, technologies come handy to prevent, cure or monitor any catastrophic occurrence. Today, when the coronavirus outbreak is at its peak risking many lives across the globe, doctors, hospitals and researchers are employing disruptive technologies to combat the pandemic. As artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics and robotics are proving their usefulness in various healthcare facilities, chatbots become even more popular as a guiding tool for people to go through coronavirus assessment on their own. Since COVID-19’s symptoms can feel like a usual sickness at first but as the contagion spreads it can worsen further. Therefore, using a chatbot assessment amid this can be a wise action to take to analyze one’s condition.

Providence St. Joseph Health is helping people determine their coronavirus risk with a screening tool built with Microsoft services. The Catholic healthcare system is based in a Seattle suburb and serves patients in six western states. Washington state was one of the first states to see large numbers of cases in the coronavirus outbreak. This screening service is similar to the website President Trump described recently at a press conference and what Verily Life Sciences is testing in San Francisco, noted the Tech Republic.

Such innovation in screening tools could initiate the trend of telehealth visits that would allow people to get medical advice during a video visit. Providence has created a new version of chatbots from an existing one to help people worried about coronavirus get answers about symptoms eliminating the need to visit physician offices or showing up at the ER.

Moreover, where the entire population of Italy (60 million) is in quarantine and government has imposed bans on public gatherings and travel restrictions, a startup, Paginemediche, has created the tool to support the health emergency efforts by providing an online triage in infection diagnostics.

Notably, Paginemediche is a digital health firm from Healthware’s portfolio of companies, and its chatbots was designed under the medical supervision of Dr. Emanuele Urbani, a general practitioner in Milan. The chatbot has been developed on the basis of the guidelines set out by the Italian Ministry of Health. It is being used as a support for telephone triage to highlight potential coronavirus cases. The tool can further help doctors interact with patients via remote visits. It has also been adopted by the Lombardy region on its institutional portal.

Besides, the Provincial Health Services Agency in Trento has also adopted the tool and offers it as a public health service directly on its website.

Orbita, a Boston-based company is the latest to announce the launch of its chatbots, which can be integrated into existing websites in order to improve access to questions and answers about coronavirus. According to Orbita, the virtual assistant has pre-packaged and conversationally formatted question-and-answer screening content from the Centers for Disease Control and other clinically vetted sources. Moreover, the chatbots can be adapted to work across mobile devices, smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, SMS, and even analog phones.

To recall, a San Francisco based company last month introduced chatbots aimed at reducing the spread of misinformation about the disease. It also aims to raise awareness about necessary clinical research for testing and treatment for COVID-19 as well as many other serious diseases. Interestingly, such virtual tools provide the basic facts about COVID-19 and let everyone check their symptoms, get recommendations based on the official public information of the WHO, and have fun while busting common myths about the disease.

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