Published 23 Apr 2020

Doctors are using AI to triage covid-19 patients. The tools may be here to stay



AI adoption in health care has seen a significant surge during the COVID-19 pandemic, proving a boon to overworked healthcare professionals, particularly radiologists. The lead radiologist at the Royal Bolton Hospital, Rizwan Malik, saw the potential of AI-based tools like qXR from, a Mumbai-based firm, in streamlining radiology work. Aiming to reduce patients' wait times, Malik initiated a trial to test qXR's efficacy in providing second opinions on chest X-rays. This trial was expedited as COVID-19 surged across the UK, and qXR was quickly retooled to detect COVID-induced pneumonia. This adaptation allowed radiologists to triage patients faster amidst PCR test shortages. As healthcare facilities worldwide turn to AI in these pressing times, experts caution that this hastened adoption could lead to the usage of unvetted tools, risking patient safety. The pandemic has nonetheless proven a significant catalyst for AI use in health care, leading to unprecedented opportunities for AI firms.

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