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Intelligent Automation Is a Powerful Prescription to COVID-19

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Intelligent Automation Is a Powerful Prescription to COVID-19

In this article, explore whether intelligent automation is a powerful prescription for COVID-19.

· AI Zone ·
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As the coronavirus (COVID-19) reaches all facets of life, industries such as healthcare, life sciences, and the public sector, are finding new ways to defend against the spread of the virus and mitigate the impact that could have long-term effects on businesses and the economy.

Despite the challenges we are facing, technological advancements have already made a tremendous impact in preventing COVID-19 from being more disruptive and deadly than Spanish Flu a century ago – despite a larger, more connected human population. As an example, it took researchers over a year to sequence the SARS genome after the SARS outbreak of 2003. This time, new technologies enabled scientists to sequence the COVID-19 genome in under a month, with early diagnostic tests appearing shortly after.

Telehealth has also become more sophisticated, as has the prevalence of wearable mobile devices delivering the ability to share complex physiological data over quicker, more reliable, and more secure connections – allowing for patient evaluations to be completed by remote experts to reduce in-person transmission. Location-enabled mobile apps can also create crowdsourced, real-time heat maps to aid disaster coordination and provide a user’s travel history to aid contact tracing efforts.

Uniting Humanity to Find Solutions 

Business continuity and a reopening of the economy will be highly dependent on government, life sciences, healthcare experts and technology organizations’ collective ability to respond, contain, treat and halt the virus’s spread around the globe. In these trying times, we must seek new ways to hasten community response time, drive greater efficiency and foster cross-industry collaboration.

This pandemic has helped unite the global community together, with technology serving as a key conduit to solve challenges and provide accurate, real-time information. Macao, China, for example, utilized RPA technology to create a public service, GPS-enabled dashboard to share local COVID-19 statistics, sites of infection, local availability of masks, hospital wait times, bank status, and other useful information in real-time. In the critical first days of the pandemic, nearly 10% of Macao’s citizens logged onto the site to receive trusted information as the situation evolved— a critical component of any effective public information strategy. Given today’s sophisticated technological advancements, this dashboard – which would have been incredibly difficult to develop a decade ago – was created and launched only five days after the initial concept meeting.

Monitoring and protecting health will be critical to restarting our businesses and economies. RPA bots are being created to assist employers in assigning adequate staff at store locations when workers are out sick, with anonymized, aggregated results displayed on a dashboard, shared via email to designated supervisors, and analyzed using analytics technology.

Bots are already being used in Singapore, for example, to quickly and accurately trace contacts between infected individuals to reduce further transmission and new waves of infection.

Bots Working Alongside Nurses and Doctors 

Global healthcare systems have been stretched to unimaginable levels and they have embraced intelligent automation to help scale response efforts beyond human capacity. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently launched a global COVID-19 Anonymized Clinical Data Platform that required the manual processing of critical clinical data and lengthy case record forms for patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Bots can handle data entry 24/7, much faster, and more accurately than people so that doctors can focus their attention on critical work.

Intelligent automation has also allowed the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom to automatically extract critical patient information and process these anonymized forms with speed and accuracy saving stretched healthcare organizations precious time to focus on improved patient outcomes.

COVID-19 has shown the need to strengthen global supply chains as critical materials, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators, have proven incredibly difficult to source and secure for hospitals. Many organizations have begun automating the order processing supply chain using Robotic Process Automation (RPA). This efficiently and accurately processes orders to ensure products are distributed timely to regions in desperate need.

What Happens Next? 

RPA allows us to automate the tasks that must happen and create a security net for the unpredictable. If the core tasks that help keep the business running are automated, then large employee absences, even if unexpected, will not create panic. In the case of a pandemic, we can reassure our employees that they need not worry about work and can focus on getting better.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus will not be the last pandemic we face. With the lessons we have learned, we must rethink how we can develop a Digital Workforce to aid our healthcare systems so that they can scale to meet widespread health catastrophes, deliver materials, speed response times and proactively prevent outbreaks through contact tracing.

Topics:
, artificial intelligence, covid-19, intelligent automation, robotic automation, robotic process automation

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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