The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted healthcare around the world. The need for solutions today—for better predictive models, better diagnostics, more and better treatments—is driving the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) as a necessary—yet still experimental—methodology. While some are concerned about the quality of the studies being performed, or the need for better datasets, potential solutions are unfolding, and their development will play a much-needed role in reducing the workplace burden today’s healthcare workers are facing.
A recent rapid literature review, published for Diabetes India, found 7 applications for how AI is already making headway in the fight against the virus.
- Early detection and diagnosis of the infection—AI is being used to identify irregular symptoms and ‘red flags’ that allow for faster decision-making. It is also being used to develop diagnostic and patient management systems through better treatment algorithms (figure).
- Monitoring the treatment—AI helps in monitoring and predicting the virus’ spread in large and small areas.
- Contact tracing—AI can help analyze the level of viral infection through identification of clusters and hot spots, as well as managing the necessary contact tracing.
- Projection of cases and mortality—Using various tracking measures (eg, social media), AI can forecast risk of infection, likely spread, and potential deaths by region.
- Development of drugs and vaccines.
- Workload reduction for healthcare workers—AI is being used to develop better training and CME programs to spread the knowledge about how best to treat COVID-19.
- Prevention of disease—Because AI can identify traits, causes and reasons for spread, AI can be used in the future to fight against emerging pandemics.
Source: Vaishya R, Javaid M, Khan IH, Haleem A. Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications for COVID-19. Diabetes Metab Syn Clin Res Reviews. 2020;14:337-339.