Since the first report of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China, it has spread to at least 100 other countries. As China initiated its response to the virus, it leaned on its strong technology sector and specifically artificial intelligence (AI), data science, and technology to track and fight the pandemic while tech leaders, including Alibaba, Baidu, Huawei and more accelerated their company’s healthcare initiatives. As a result, tech startups are integrally involved with clinicians, academics, and government entities around the world to activate technology as the virus continues to spread to many other countries. Here are 10 ways artificial intelligence, data science, and technology are being used to manage and fight COVID-19.
1. AI to identify, track and forecast outbreaks
The better we can track the virus, the better we can fight it. By analyzing news reports, social media platforms, and government documents, AI can learn to detect an outbreak. Tracking infectious disease risks by using AI is exactly the service Canadian startup BlueDot provides. In fact, BlueDot’s AI warned of the threat several days before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization issued their public warnings.
2. AI to help diagnose the virus
Artificial intelligence company Infervision launched a coronavirus AI solution that helps front-line healthcare workers detect and monitor the disease efficiently. Imaging departments in healthcare facilities are being taxed with the increased workload created by the virus. This solution improves CT diagnosis speed. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba also built an AI-powered diagnosis system they claim is 96% accurate at diagnosing the virus in seconds.
3. Process healthcare claims
It’s not only the clinical operations of healthcare systems that are being taxed but also the business and administrative divisions as they deal with the surge of patients. A blockchain platform offered by Ant Financial helps speed up claims processing and reduces the amount of face-to-face interaction between patients and hospital staff.
4. Drones deliver medical supplies
One of the safest and fastest ways to get medical supplies where they need to go during a disease outbreak is with drone delivery. Terra Drone is using its unmanned aerial vehicles to transport medical samples and quarantine material with minimal risk between Xinchang County’s disease control centre and the People’s Hospital. Drones also are used to patrol public spaces, track non-compliance to quarantine mandates, and for thermal imaging.