The severity of the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to become more evident in recent weeks, prompting the U.S government to prepare for an 18-month battle. With the number of confirmed cases still doubling over periods of just a few days and experts believing additional waves of the virus could occur, it’s more important than ever for the healthcare industry to stay on top of the situation.
An Influx of Patients
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading expert on infectious diseases, believes that the current pace of COVID-19’s spread could lead to anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 deaths. These projections indicate the number of total cases will run in the millions.
Though there’s a concerted effort to supply hospitals with the equipment necessary to handle the influx of COVID-19 cases, many are currently running low on PPE.
To ensure our country is sufficiently prepared for the continued spread of COVID-19, the healthcare industry must rely on technology to assist in forecasting the need for PPE, ventilators, and other equipment. Technologies can also be used to assist patients beyond the four walls of the hospital, providing necessary care without requiring a hospital visit.
How Artificial Intelligence Helps
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one technology the healthcare industry is relying on during this difficult time. Many of the real-time pandemic updates we’ve grown accustomed to are due to experts leveraging AI to anticipate the severity and significance of COVID-19. However, AI has permeated nearly all aspects of the healthcare industry’s assault on the pandemic.
As I mentioned above, artificial intelligence is being used to understand how COVID-19 is spreading. These predictive models not only forecast the number of cases and deaths but also how it is expected to spread. In conjunction, AI is being used to gain a clearer understanding of COVID-19. Artificial intelligence can parse massive amounts of data and research to recognize patterns and the most effective treatment methods.
Artificial intelligence is also being used in the form of chatbots, which are playing a crucial role in assessing the correct level of care for patients. Those who are experiencing symptoms can interact with a chatbot that can then determine next steps for each patient. Chatbots also relieve call centers, which have become over-encumbered during this difficult time.
Artificial intelligence is even expected to more accurately diagnose patients with the virus and even monitor patients who have contracted COVID-19. In fact, the first positive COVID-19 case in the U.S. was partially treated by a robot.
AI is accelerating the healthcare industry’s education and response times to COVID-19, ensuring we can handle the pandemic as best as possible. Though artificial intelligence cannot give us all the answers, it shows the role technology can play in mitigating and managing disasters.