Microsoft Azure on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response

In the current global COVID-19 pandemic, information is power. It is absolutely critical to deliver medical care during these times but to also provide information to help people make informed decisions to prevent hospitals, doctor’s rooms and testing facilities from being overwhelmed.

Microsoft has accepted this challenge and is offering its Healthcare Bot service, powered by Microsoft Azure, to Healthcare organisations which are on the frontline of the COVID-19 response. This Healthcare Bot service helps to screen patients for potential infection and suggests a course of action.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, healthcare services have expressed concerns over being totally overwhelmed by the demand created by the COVID-19 outbreak which is creating a strain on vital healthcare resources such as doctors and nurses, and emergency and urgent care. This is because those on the frontline of the outbreak need to be able to respond to enquires, provide up-to-date information on the outbreak, track exposure and quickly decide on treatments for new cases.

The Microsoft Healthcare Bot service is able to alleviate some of the strain that the Healthcare industry is feeling at the moment. It uses Artificial Intelligence to help healthcare organisations respond to these inquiries; therefore, freeing up healthcare professionals to administer critical care to those in need.

The Healthcare Bot is a scalable Azure-based public cloud service allowing organisations to quickly build and deploy AI-powered bots for websites or apps. These bots can, therefore, provide the general public with personalised access to health and COVID-19 related information through a natural conversation experience. The bot can be customised to fit specific healthcare organisation’s protocols.

The Healthcare Bot service is already being utilised in America by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the form of a COVID-19 assessment bot. This bot that is able to quickly assess the symptoms and risk factors for people nervous about infection, provide relevant information and suggests a course of action, for example, contacting a medical provider or managing the virus at home.

In order to assist those with the rapid deployment of these Healthcare bot services, Microsoft is making a set of COVID-19 response templates that healthcare organisations can use and modify to suit their specific needs.

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