Around 100 years ago, the Spanish flu, also known as the 1918 flu pandemic, infected 500 million people. At the time, this amounted to about a third of the world’s population.
Today, COVID-19 presents a similar threat in terms of spread and rising uncertainty.
One key difference with our current scenario is that emerging innovations – like artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud technology – are helping us to better understand the virus and these tools are enabling us respond to the situation more quickly. Technology and data make it possible to track the spread of the pandemic and assist in the detection and control of the disease.
Happening near and far, we’ve rounded up a few examples of how healthcare ministries across the globe are using AI and cloud to tackle COVID-19.
- Recently, South African health minister Zweli Mkhize described ICTs as an important weapon in our arsenal to fight against this virus. The SA health ministry is using AI-enabled diagnostic systems, which leverages cloud technology, to diagnose and treat infected patients.
- On average, a COVID-19 patient will have over 2 000 CT images taken during hospitalisation. Computed Tomography (CT) Image analytics is being used in India to read and compare image data for different patients. This makes it possible to improve patient data analysis and adjusting treatment plans accordingly
- In Israel, AI-driven contact tracing algorithms send out personalised text messages instructing people to isolate if they have been near someone with a positive diagnosis.
- Meanwhile, Russia is maintaining COVID-19 quarantines through large-scale monitoring of citizens with CCTV cameras and facial recognition.
- In China, communities are using voice recognition bots to collect personal identity and state of health data. These bots make about 200 calls within five minutes, making monitoring and identification faster and more efficient.
- Also in China, regular cleaners have been replaced by robots in an attempt to aid social distancing. The government has also employed AI-powered drones and robots to detect population movements.
The time is now for healthcare systems to leverage the power of cloud and AI to assist in the battle against COVID-19. But it’s important to put appropriate governance architectures in place to create long-term solutions without putting security and personal privacy at risk.
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