Globally, cases of covid19 are on the rise and there seems to be no end in sight for some countries recently hit by the pandemic. While the US cases are increasing day after day, the epicenter of covid19 now is in Europe. Countries like Italy and Spain are slowly gaining control of the spread of the coronavirus, while countries like the UK are only experiencing the beginning. Covid19 does not spare anyone, as the prime minister of the UK Boris Johnson has contracted covid19 and recently been admitted to the ICU at a hospital in London. With so many people globally worried about the pandemic, call centers for organizations have seen an unprecedented amount of incoming calls. A majority of these calls are concerning symptoms and questions about the diagnosis of Covid19. One country affected greatly by the pandemic is Denmark. Residents’ calls mostly directed to healthcare organizations are overwhelming call centers. At one point, Emergency Medical Services, a call center in Copenhagen attempted to open a second call center to handle the volume of calls but that wasn’t enough.

This is where artificial intelligence steps in. A virtual assistant answers the call and determines the level of a call. The virtual assistant can handle incoming call volume more efficiently and be able to detect which calls are “high-priority” to transfer to a human representative. This call center is one of many organizations that adopted Microsoft’s Healthcare Bot to analyze callers for covid19 infections and treatment.

Powered by Microsoft Azure, the service uses artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing technology to help organizations create their own bots — in which the data is owned and solely accessible by the organization — to respond to inquiries and free up doctors, nurses and other health care professionals so they can provide critical care to patients who need it.
Microsoft’s service has been around for some time, but not been tested in capacity and efficiency until now. Since the start of last year, it’s principal function was to work alongside health assistants in case the system experienced difficulties. However, this scenario changed when covid19 went from an epidemic to a pandemic. Organizations across the globe began to adopt the service to analyze callers for any symptoms of covid19.

Microsoft’s artificial intelligence service is a great help to alleviate the stress and workload of healthcare workers. Since the service is now used for screening patients and determining whether they should visit a medical professional, healthcare workers now have time to dedicate to what matters the most: saving those suffering from covid19. When the Emergency Medical Service in Copenhagen adopted the service in March, it took a short period of time to create and set-up the service. On its launch date, the bot responded to more than 30,000 calls. Some of these calls were questions about covid19, meaning the bot answered questions callers had while shortening the number of calls directed to the emergency number.

Since other organizations in Demark clearly saw the benefit of adopting a service like Microsoft’s, the whole country adopted the service. The benefits can clearly be seen, as the national emergency has freed up massively and callers across the country can get answers about covid19 much quicker.

Now is the best time for all healthcare providers to adopt technologies that will help alleviate the workload on healthcare workers. As a shortage of doctors and nurses occurs worldwide, bots like Microsoft’s healthcare bot and telemedicine are needed to increase the number of healthcare workers on the front lines. The benefits outweigh any hiccups with the launch or trial period.