Microsoft worked with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, Emory University, and several major healthcare providers to build a chatbot that guides users through self-assessment and connects them to additional resources and medical professionals if needed.
The self-assessment chatbot the CDC calls “Coronavirus Self-Checker” launched Thursday on its website. Separately on Friday, Emory University and Atlanta-based Vital Software launched C19check.com.
The chatbot -- which also became available from health systems such as Providence, Virginia Mason Health, and Novant Health -- is designed to help people assess the severity of their symptoms and ease demand on emergency rooms and hospitals. An additional 20 chatbots on a variety of sites will come online soon.
Health companies began testing the bot in early March.
Collectively, Microsoft’s Healthcare Bot service has fielded more than 1 million messages per day from members of the public who are concerned about COVID-19 infections.
The healthcare bot uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help the CDC and other health organizations respond to inquiries. It is built on Microsoft’s Azure public cloud service.
Microsoft made COVID-19 response templates available that customers can use and modify to assess risk, clinical triage, up-to-date answers, and worldwide metrics based on CDC guidelines and protocols.
The chatbot can screen patients with any number of cold or flu-like symptoms and determine who has risk factors high enough to require additional help from medical resources and who may care for themselves at home -- but when in doubt, always seek the advice of a healthcare professional.
Last weekend Microsoft launched a COVID-19 tracker that provides details on confirmed, active, recovered, and fatal cases, in addition to aggregating articles from publishers on the topic from around the world based on the country.