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AI in Healthcare: Key Highlights during the Pandemic

Updated: Jun 14, 2022

The healthcare industry has long been an early adopter of technological advancements and reaped significant benefits from it. With the spread of COVID-19 in 2020, AI has transformed healthcare and played a great role in handling the global pandemic.

The worldwide epidemic has pushed healthcare industries to their limits in combating COVID19 — healthcare facilities are in full capacity, healthcare staff, nurses and doctors are overworked and are at huge risk of contracting the virus.

However, the pressure for healthcare industries to adapt to the situation in a short period of time has also given an opportunity for AI to prove its benefits to humanity.

AI and Machine learning are now used in a variety of health-related fields and have been quickly applied by organizations all over the world in a variety of areas, including scaling customer communications, understanding how COVID-19 spreads and speeding up research and treatment.

Here are the key highlights of AI and Machine Learning during the pandemic.

Telemedicine with AI chatbots

Machine learning technology is playing an important role during the pandemic by providing the tools to support remote communication, telemedicine, and food supply.

For healthcare and government organizations, using machine learning-enabled chatbots for contactless COVID-19 symptom screening and answering public questions. With nearly 3 million messages sent to date, government healthcare chatbots can answer questions on everything from exercise to a COVID-19 risk assessment without putting additional strain on healthcare and government institutions' resources.

Machine learning in understanding COVID-19

Machine learning is also assisting researchers and practitioners in analyzing large amounts of data to forecast COVID-19's spread in order to serve as an early warning system for future pandemics and identify vulnerable populations.

Scientists have developed new methods to quantify undetected infections using machine learning by analyzing how the virus mutates as it spreads through the population to infer how many transmissions have gone unnoticed. In the face of COVID-19, this enables leaders to make more informed decisions.

AI enhanced the vaccine development

A team of researchers from the University of Southern California's Viterbi School of Engineering developed a new model to combat emergent Coronavirus variants. By analyzing vaccine efficacy, this artificial intelligence (AI) model aided in the development of vaccines.

Surprising discoveries have also been made as a result of AI, such as this virus infecting brain tissues, causing some patients to lose their sense of taste and smell and the potential to harm both men's and women's reproductive systems. Because of these findings, scientists can improve the quality of vaccines being administered to this date.

Speeding up research and treatment

Healthcare providers and researchers are dealing with an exponentially growing amount of data about COVID-19, making it difficult to derive treatment relevant insights. In response, CORD-19 Search, a new machine-learning-powered search engine, has been launched to assist researchers in finding research papers and documents quickly and easily.

This machine learning solution, which is based on the Allen Institute for AI's CORD-19 open research dataset of more than 128,000 research papers and other materials, can extract relevant medical information from unstructured text and provides robust natural-language query capabilities, speeding up the pace of discovery.

Meanwhile, in the field of medical imaging, researchers are employing machine learning to aid in the recognition of patterns in images, allowing radiologists to better indicate the likelihood of a diagnosis.

Final Thoughts

What the healthcare industry is doing is not hyperbole. These are real, tangible applications of AI in effectively affecting the healthcare landscape around the globe. The unprecedented speed and development of AI and Machine learning can be a key component in modernizing and improving healthcare systems around the world. It can improve primary care, provide alerts for pandemics like COVID-19, and even predict when individuals will develop health issues.

AI and machine learning are only likely to grow in importance as time goes on. The short-term benefits of AI in healthcare are impressive, but the long-term effects are even more profound. As this technology continues to innovate and support new solutions in the medical field, we'll uncover more ways that AI can help us respond to COVID-19 and (hopefully) prevent another crisis of this magnitude from happening again.

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