Covid and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Chatbots or symptom checkers

Medical chatbots  are a recent application in the medical field that are pushing the medical community forward in these hard times to automate healthcare (Amato et al., 2020; Hao, 2020; Miner et al., 2020). Covid-19 is an illness caused by a new coronavirus that can spread from person to person and has infected people throughout the world. Restrictions due to the virus have caused many problems with how people have been able to carry out simple everyday tasks, such as going to the doctor. Hao reported an increase in the use of AI chatbots that provides evidence of Covid complicating the medical field. Hao wrote that once the pandemic hit, the state governor ordered a 50% reduction of all government staff, forcing a cut of most call center employees (Hao, 2020). Hao explains that since many patients currently need to be quarantined or cannot go to the doctor’s office because of health risks, the patients have found a new way to get medical diagnoses and treatment: AI chatbots.

Chatbots can be separated into two categories: those that are free and those that cost money. The way that chatbots work is after patients input their symptoms and answer a couple of questions, the chatbot then informs them whether or not to seek medical attention or contact a medical professional.

In the past, medical AIs were primarily used in hospitals as triage systems to tell nurses which patients may need to be seen first, but as AI has developed so has the use of this technology. Some new applications of this technology include using image technology to predict whether a user has a condition that needs to be treated and how it might progress (Heaven, 2020)

Potential benefits of using chatbots include increased patient knowledge before visits and increased awareness (Palanica, 2019). Palancia (2019) conducted a similar experiment that found averages of AI chatbot effectiveness similar to the current study. Amato et al., (2020) conducted research using a similar method to the current study. They used a total of 16,733 patient records and tested their symptoms with the chatbots to see if the chatbots were correct in their diagnoses. The Chatbot scored with a mean of 74.65%. This further contributes to this paper's support in justifying the methods used in the current study. Furthermore, Abd-Alrazaq et al. (2020) stated that chatbots have been used as triage systems in immediate health care offices. They are used to qualify who needs medical attention the most and who goes where in the hospital. Heaven (2020) claims that chatbots as a whole are a growing industry and are indeed lifesaving technology.

Latest research proves that chatbots are effective at diagnosing diseases and informing the public about what they might have.(Swick).Dr EHF`s AIDO -  health symptom checker online is a trailblazer as it is able to diagnose more accurately a condition than any other available symptom checkers . In the pipeline are  screening for common diseases  and presenting complex medical data for patients in ways they understand and use  it.