Orbita Launches COVID-19 Virtual Assistant to Help Healthcare Providers Screen for Coronavirus
Artificial intelligence developer Orbita debuted a new interactive chatbot and voice assistant specifically to support healthcare organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Orbita COVID-19 Virtual Assistant aims at helping educate the public and support medical professionals in screening and triaging people who may have been infected by the virus.
Educating and Screening
“The genesis of what we’re working on is that Orbita does conversational AI for healthcare, and we have a lot of customers on the frontlines of the pandemic,” Orbita senior vice president of strategy Kristi Ebong told Voicebot in an interview. “We started talking almost two weeks ago about what we can do to help, and it’s been evolving in real time.”
The virtual assistant can answer questions about the coronavirus and use a series of questions built on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other reputable sources to perform a preliminary screening for symptoms. Depending on what the answers are, the AI can then suggest the next best steps for further testing and treatment. The chatbot can be added to any healthcare provider’s website as a chatbot for free.
Orbita is working with its clients to integrate the AI into a new or existing voice app on Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. By building it into existing software, the AI can send out text alerts and even potentially call people to remind them of appointments. The relative flexibility of the Orbita platform allows for healthcare providers to build upon the free version of the chatbot with custom content, Ebong said. They can update and adjust it as they choose without having to dive into any firmware.
“We want to help the “worried well” population by answering questions for them,” Ebong said. “Then, with symptomatic people or the at-risk population, we want to effectively triage them. That’s where there are some bottlenecks in the capacity for healthcare.”
The COVID-19 pandemic is leading a lot of companies to scramble with a response. Concern about misinformation prompted both Alexa and Google Assistant to remove any voice app that touched on the coronavirus from their respective stores and how the voice assistants respond to questions about the virus continues to change. Meanwhile, in a complementary effort to help healthcare professionals during the pandemic, medical enterprise platform Rx.Health launched a digital toolkit for hospitals. The services bundled together include clinical voice assistant Suki, which can ease the burden of paperwork and administrative tasks on healthcare providers.
Beyond the virtual assistant, Orbita has found other ways to help people compensate for quarantine. For instance, after the major health conference HIMSS was canceled, Orbita set up a free Livestream forum where some of those who would have spoken at the event could get together online to talk to a virtual audience about the disease and its impact. The resulting series of discussions tackled the subjects of virtual health assistants, public health crises, and related topics. The need for an easy tool that can answer questions and help spot people with the coronavirus is enormous, according to Ebong, and the virtual assistant is in high demand.
“I have never seen anything like it in my life,” Ebong said. “We have been bombarded with calls and requests to get this launched. People are really thinking about how to scale these tools in a public health emergency. A lot of our customers want to use it as a core part of their efforts. We will keep evolving it to be as useful as we can.”