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Every day we are facing another daunting stat or headline.

AI-helping-answerHowever, amidst the difficult news, there are beacons of light and reminders that there is good that can come from this situation.

The level of collaboration that is taking place between various industries is staggering. Manufacturing organizations are switching up their dedicated production lines to engineer medical devices, in place of jeans and button-ups, clothing companies are producing masks and gowns and technology companies are teaming up with scientists and doctors to develop therapies and vaccines.

For example, in a recent article, Microsoft’s Chief Technology Officer Kevin Scott, discussed their partnership with a bio-tech company to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to map COVID-19 antibodies within the blood to better map the progression of the virus.

AI is helping in more ways than one. 

In fact, the emergence of AI in the past few years has never been more prevalent or perhaps even critical, than it is right now. In Massachusetts, they are exploring the potential of using intelligent robots to perform basic vital tasks in surge clinics so as to help protect healthcare workers and spread the workload.

When COVID-19 cases began to spike in Washington, a hospital system in Seattle created an AI-backed screener that helped triage the calls and chats that were coming in regarding symptoms. This helped them to better manage the volume and prioritize their treatment and support efforts.

AI can lend support to employees. 

And there’s really no reason we should not be applying the same efforts to benefits. This is an unprecedented time where employees are looking for support. Whether it is questions about COVID-19 itself, or what to do in the situation of a layoff or furlough, AI technologies can help support your employees and get them the answers they are seeking.

We equipped our personal benefits assistant, Sofia, to answer questions related to COVID-19 in the middle of the March. Since that time, we have seen an increase of 45% in those requiring support specific to coronavirus.

Additionally, we increased her knowledge and workflows related to offboarding, to better assist employees who are facing layoffs or furlough. This allows Sofia to help them understand their COBRA or individual coverage options as well as directs them to resources for unemployment.

After hours support is needed now with unpredictable work hours. 

AI also provides a better means to get support throughout the day, not just from 9 to 5. In comparison to the same time last year, Sofia’s after-hours chat volume (i.e. nights and weekends) is up 46%. As more and more employees are working from home or dealing with their new normal of “homeschooling” their children, providing access to support after hours is growing.

And it’s not just about providing the means of support, but also pointing your employees to right the utilization of benefits. If you offer telemedicine as part of a larger medical plan or have an EAP in place, now is the time to encourage your employees to use those resources. Intelligent applications, like Sofia, can play a key role in disseminating that type of information to your employees and ensuring they are maximizing the use of their benefits.

There is no doubt that AI is changing the game for healthcare and that this historic event will significantly influence the way we examine the use of intelligent applications within the larger health and HR landscape.

To see Sofia in action, check out this short video that demonstrates her ability to respond to COVID-19.

For more COVID-19 resources, check out our resources page

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