QC taps artificial intelligence for monitoring, tracking of COVID-19 cases

In a bid to contain the local transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and ease the burden of contact tracing, the Quezon City government has tapped artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tracking and monitoring of suspected and probable cases.

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Sunday led the launching of the BANTAI COVID project, which aims to remotely reach and monitor those who have been exposed to COVID-19 positive individuals in a real-time manner and via short message service (SMS).

“The latest method will help spare healthcare workers from unnecessary exposure and risks,” Belmonte stressed, adding that as a recovered COVID-19 patient, she understands the worries of those battling the disease, particularly the asymptomatic patients.

“Aside from medical advice, we want them to know they have someone to turn to or consult whenever they feel the need. We’re happy this project will address this,” said Belmonte.

Calling the project “timely”, Belmonte expressed gratitude that the city has been chosen as the pilot site for its implementation.

“We welcome this project as this pandemic has driven all of us to innovate and find new ways to address our emerging problems,” she added.

According to Dr. Rolando Cruz, head of the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU), the AI-based project will help build a centralized database repository for patients’ information and data that is accessible to health workers at any particular time.

“This will give us a daily census of patients’ real-time status including the date of their admission, discharge and recovery, among others. There will be more data for us to interpret and use,” said Cruz.

The project will augment and improve healthcare services by bridging patients with available health experts without the physical engagement through the use of the latest technology or telemedicine.

“Our health workers, including volunteer doctors, will be able to pull out a record and conduct triage, and refer the patient to any hospital or quarantine facility as needed,” Cruz said.

BANTAI COVID is made possible through close collaboration with the Philippine Medical Association, private enterprise VIREO Loadworks, and the Quezon City Medical Society.