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Getting COVID-19 is no fun, but the key to getting better faster has a lot to do with getting treatment faster.
Provider of digital healthcare Adam Health announced today that it is working with drugmaker Pfizer on an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled application to help individuals who begin experiencing COVID symptoms get the right treatment as quickly as possible. The new COVID-19 Care Journey application, operated by Ada Health, in partnership with Pfizer, can help individuals determine what action they can take to resolve symptoms. Under the right circumstances, it can also be used to help users get the right antiviral medication to lessen the impact of symptoms and speed up recovery.
The COVID-19 Care Journey will be available as a standalone service, as well as part of the Ada app, an AI-powered mobile application that the company says has been downloaded more than 12 million times. The Ada app uses AI to help with initial triage and diagnosis of potential health issues.
“We kind of help our users figure out what health issues they might have and how to address them as a next step,” Daniel Nathrath, CEO and co-founder of Ada, told VentureBeat. “Now we’re taking Ada’s utility a step further and, rather than telling users what they might have and what they can do, we’re actually trying to provide them with the solution in a seamless end-to-end care journey.”
How the Care Pathway Service works
Nathrath explained that what the service does is it helps determine if a person is eligible for antiviral treatment for COVID.
“COVID antivirals are now available and they’re quite effective, but they don’t necessarily reach the people who need them most,” he said. “Part of that is because people don’t actually know if they qualify or not, and sometimes even the doctors don’t really know.”
The COVID-19 Care Journey provides a specific questionnaire to help determine if a user meets the criteria set forth by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the use of COVID antiviral medications. For those who qualify, the service can connect the user to a telehealth doctor who can then prescribe the actual medication.
While the service is being developed in collaboration with Pfizer, which produces the antiviral drug Paxlovid, Nathrath stressed that doctors are free to prescribe any antiviral drug.
After a doctor issues a prescription, the Care Journey service can also ensure that the medicine reaches the patient as quickly as possible, which is crucial when it comes to antiviral treatments as they must be taken within the first few days. effective.
“The idea here is really to make the whole journey a lot more painless for the patient,” Nathrath said. “If you have an infectious disease, the last thing you want — and the last thing anyone wants — is to sit in your GP’s waiting room and pass the infection on to another 10 people.”
The AI Doctor will see you now
The core of the Ada application is based on an AI system that the company has developed over the past twelve years.
Nathrath explained that his company’s AI trained on a very large curated medical knowledge base. It’s an effort that he said involved hundreds of doctors to fine-tune and get the right results.
As part of the AI development process, Ada Health developed its own domain-specific programming language. With that language, it is able to identify several thousand different diseases and tens of thousands of symptoms. The information is all collected as structured data and behind it is a probabilistic reasoning machine.
A probabilistic engine works differently than the Large Language Model (LLM) approach that has become popular with AI in recent years.
“We made a conscious decision to take the approach we took because it’s more explainable, it’s not a black box,” Nathrath said. “So it’s a much more guided conversation than the conversation you’d have with something like ChatGPT and for this particular use case, we think it’s actually the better solution.”
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