Given the current situation, it is easy to fall into an “all coronavirus all the time” editorial coverage. On the other hand, there are many important health tech stories that deserve to be told. It’s difficult to strike the right balance between the two extremes. It was easy to pick this item, however. Many people are worried about contracting the COVID-19 virus but have limited access to medical care and consultation. There is now a solution that can offer them some peace of mind.
The CDC has responded by creating a “Coronavirus Self-Checker” that is available on the agency’s website. It runs on the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform and was developed in partnership with the CDC Foundation. The system uses Microsoft’s Healthcare Bot service that relies on artificial intelligence (AI) to give personalized access to health-related information.
In this case, a bot named Clara will step you through a series of questions. At the end, it gives you advice such as rely on home treatment and monitor your condition, or seek immediate medical help. As the bot’s disclaimers point out at the start, the system is not intended to diagnose or treat disease, and is only for people currently in the U.S. It is designed to help you make informed decisions about whether or not to seek medical care.
As our healthcare resources become increasingly stressed, it is important for individuals to be as self-sufficient as possible to aid in the screening of those who need the help of health professionals. Using technology tools such as AI bots can take clinical knowledge and make it broadly available to a much wider audience. Health tech will play an important role in helping us manage the COVID-19 crisis.