China-based Ping An Smart Healthcare, an affiliate of Ping An Smart City, has launched a smart audio screening system for COVID-19, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to strengthen epidemic control and prevention.
It claims to have already used the technology to complete over 580,000 screenings in 47,000 households in 17 communities in Wuhan, and successfully identified more than 1,600 suspected cases for tracking.
Ping An Smart Healthcare is available to nearly 800 million people in more than 70 cities in China and Southeast Asia.
It uses Ping An Group’s three core technologies, AI, blockchain and cloud computing, to provide smart integrated healthcare solutions. These include medical quality control, disease prediction, triage and guidance and medical imaging screening/diagnosis.
To try to curb the COVID-19 outbreak, the Wuhan Municipal Government instructed its local epidemic prevention personnel to screen suspected cases by making daily phone calls to gather information such as symptoms and body temperature of residents.
Ping An Healthcare highlighted that it is difficult for human operators to complete more than 300 phone screenings a day and stressed the efficiency and accuracy of such calls can also vary, depending on the operator’s experience and judgement.
Ping An’s smart audio screening system has capacity for up to 3,000 AI robots working at the same time. Each AI robot can handle up to 500 auto-call screenings per day, a total of 1.5 million daily.
On launch day, the system screened more than 1,200 households in Wuhan, categorising and reporting information such as body temperature and symptoms to the related authority. It took five minutes in total to complete all the 1,200 calls, including second attempts.
Natural language processing
The natural language processing built into the system can activate automated dialogue according to programmed questions, understand the semantic meaning of the conversation, structure and categorise the results for risk assessment, and report to the epidemic prevention and control management team, who can then accurately track the residents with suspected symptoms.
“Preventing and controlling an epidemic is like racing with the virus,” said Geoff Kau, co-president and chief strategy officer of Ping An Smart City. “Ping An’s COVID-19 smart audio screening system can effectively strengthen the ability to prevent and control the epidemic, resulting in higher efficiency and smarter management.
“As a result, epidemic prevention personnel can focus their time and efforts on more important tasks.”
Ping An Smart Healthcare solutions also include internet hospitals and compact smart medical communities.