Local health bodies and tech firms using AI to fight Covid-19, Tech News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – Healthcare services and know-how corporations listed here are tapping synthetic intelligence (AI) know-how within the battle towards the Covid-19 outbreak.

They embody hospitals such because the Nationwide College Hospital (NUH) and Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), whereas a number of native tech corporations’ AI choices are actually being utilized in coronavirus mitigation.

In response to the Infocomm Media Growth Authority, AI refers back to the examine and use of clever machines to imitate human motion and thought. It’s related to studying, downside fixing and sample recognition.

NUH and TTSH are utilizing a scientific chat assistant smartphone app by Singapore AI startup Bot MD, which helps medical doctors and front-line healthcare staff keep abreast with the quick altering data round Covid-19.

The app makes use of AI to energy its pure language interface and to extract scientific data from giant swathes of content material from completely different knowledge sources.

Dr Jen Wei Ying, affiliate advisor on the Division of Haematology-Oncology on the Nationwide College Most cancers Institute, Singapore, says: “Whether or not I’m searching for Covid-19 scientific workflows, at how you can contact the pandemic crew or to maintain updated on our hospital’s newest operational directives, I’m able to seek for and procure all this data immediately on the Bot MD app.”

She says the app’s largest worth is in getting scientific data, at any time when and wherever she wants it.

Bot MD was based in 2018. Its app is presently utilized by 13,000 medical doctors in over 52 nations. Bot MD CEO and founder Dorothea Koh says: “Consider us like a Google Assistant or Apple Siri, however designed for busy healthcare professionals.”

She says the app could be shortly skilled on any hospital or scientific content material and reply questions from medical employees. The content material can come from hospitals, medical associations and the Ministry of Well being (MOH).

Screenshots from the app Bot MD. PHOTOS: BOT MD

“Each time scientific employees want a solution to questions like who’s on name or pointers on hospital particular protocols, they will merely sort a question (and the app) will immediately reply with the best reply. With our companion hospitals similar to NUH and TTSH right here in Singapore, we skilled the AI on hospital-specific content material similar to hospital protocols, drug dosage data, drug formulary data, on-call rosters, illness pointers, Covid-19 operational directives and the newest MOH round updates,” Ms Koh says.

AI can be getting used at TTSH’s new Command, Management and Communications (C3) system for healthcare, which was rolled out on the finish of final yr after two years of growth.

Developed collectively by TTSH and MOH’s IT arm, Built-in Well being Info Techniques (IHiS), the system gives real-time visibility of the hospital’s floor operations – from the second sufferers are admitted to the hospital to when they’re discharged, whereas maintaining observe of sources similar to hospital staff, beds, vital tools together with private protecting tools and different provides.

The system makes use of AI to foretell conditions earlier than they happen – thus informing on how sources could possibly be higher allotted – and to offer insights for higher decision-making.

Mr Bruce Liang, CEO of IHiS, says the system can predict future care demand and permits “autonomous decision-making with greater than 600 pre-defined formulation”.

He says: “(The system) helps us transcend hindsight to foresight. Throughout this Covid-19 state of affairs the place there’s an escalating variety of sufferers, velocity and foresight is crucial.”

In early February, TTSH noticed a surge within the attendance at its screening centre for Covid-19. This coincided with an increase in inpatient admissions on the Nationwide Centre for Infectious Ailments (NCID), which is positioned subsequent to TTSH.

Guided by the C3 system, TTSH was capable of pull collectively the manpower, tools and different supporting sources to open 5 wards at NCID and strengthen help at its screening centre.


AI can be utilized in temperature screening right here. The IHiS and native medical tech start-up KroniKare have developed an answer known as iThermo that makes use of AI to identify febrile folks in a crowd, lowering the necessity for a handbook course of. It really works even when individuals are sporting sun shades, surgical masks or headgear.

The answer, which contains a smartphone fitted with thermal and 3D laser cameras, is presently being piloted on the IHiS headquarters in Serangoon North and St Andrew’s Group Hospital. On a weblog submit in late February on its web site, KroniKare mentioned that it has acquired over 200 inquiries throughout numerous industries, requesting for some 300 items.

An actual-time contact tracing and communication system created by Singapore-based AI agency Sqreem Applied sciences is now being utilized by the South Africa authorities.

Sqreem, included in Singapore in 2010 and now has about 130 employees, has a software program known as Channel Sqreem, which may observe an individual utilizing his or her cellular gadget ID right down to a 5 sq. metre grid. It does this without having to know any private data of the gadget proprietor.

Sqreem CEO and founder Ian Chapman-Banks, explains: “As soon as an individual is discovered to have examined optimistic for Covid-19, all of the well being authorities must do is to run the house and work addresses of the person via Channel Sqreem.”

The software program would then use AI and machine studying fashions to mechanically decide what number of different units which can be carried by different those who had dangerous contact with that individual over the earlier 14 days.

Related companies can then ship messages within the type of commercials to the following web site or app the proprietor of the gadget browses or makes use of. These messages could be data on how you can verify for Covid-19 signs, native well being help contact particulars or a message to contact native well being authorities.

Channel Sqreem was rolled out in South Africa at end-March and has an accuracy of 90 per cent, in line with Sqreem. Like different AI and machine studying options, its accuracy improves as its AI continues to study and optimise itself.

The software program is presently in use solely in South Africa. Mr Chapman-Banks says the corporate is in talks with potential shoppers throughout Asia, Europe and the Center East.


Many specialists have mentioned that AI is an efficient know-how to battle the Covid-19 pandemic. Ms Malina Platon, Asean managing director of New York-based AI agency UiPath, factors to using AI together with automation applied sciences similar to Robotic Course of Automation (RPA).

RPA permits software program – the “robotic” – to imitate the actions of a human in digital methods. For example, a software program robotic can watch and repeat what an individual does in an software’s graphical person interface. Ms Platon says RPA can acquire huge quantities of information, similar to affected person data, and feed it into the AI algorithms which may then assist medical doctors and healthcare professionals make faster and higher choices.

In January this yr, London-based AI agency BenevolentAI used its in depth scientific literature and bio-medical analysis knowledge to search for hyperlinks between Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes the Covid-19 illness, and potential efficient medicine towards it. The agency discovered a drug known as Baricitinib, which might doubtlessly decelerate the results of the coronavirus. The drug is presently present process scientific trials.

Mr Mike Davie, CEO of information and know-how agency Quadrant, says: “Not like the Spanish flu pandemic and even Sars, immediately we’re producing lots of information that we will pump into AI algorithms that might assist forestall and even forestall one other pandemic of this sort.”

He pointed to how location knowledge can be utilized together with different forms of knowledge to uncover beforehand unknown insights.

“For instance, we all know that the severity of Covid-19 partly depends upon viral load and dosage. And so marrying medical knowledge (similar to chest X-ray outcomes) with location knowledge, we might be able to uncover hotspots the place folks contract the virus extra significantly,” he says.

Mr Liu Feng-Yuan, CEO and co-founder of native AI start-up BasisAI, nevertheless cautions that AI must be utilized in mixture with different pandemic-fighting efforts. “It is not a single reply to the difficult state of affairs that we’re confronted with. Expertise alone won’t assist us eliminate the underlying circumstances obligatory for a profitable battle towards Covid-19,” he says.

However with the best methods and checks in place, Mr Liu says AI will present public well being officers with extra correct overviews of patterns.

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