Tos of smoker. Cold. Angina. Hoarseness. Of dysphonia. Allergic And now also covid cough. Some researchers are analyzing whether the coronavirus causes a particular sound in the cough of the infected. Thus, it could be used as a more specific diagnostic method, distinctive of other diseases.
In that sense, technology can be very useful. And even as a public service. For this reason, the Buenos Aires government is developing a program that, through artificial intelligence, will search distinguish the own cough from the coronavirus.
The project is carried out by the Secretariat of Innovation and Digital Transformation of the Buenos Aires Government. As they explained, they were based on some medical research being developed in other countries, where they are studied specific “marks” of cough in different diseases.
The work began just over two months ago. Secretariat staff recorded the coughs of 1,000 people of those who went through isolation in different Buenos Aires hotels for having been infected with covid. In addition, they obtained different databases with records of coughs from other diseases, not coronavirus.
At the same time, they were “educating” the artificial intelligence program developed to learn to distinguish the different types of coughs.
With that base of 2,000 recordings, half and a half, the Secretariat assures that the program reached “80% correct“in diagnosis.
From that situation, they are now in a second stage. The idea is collect 5,000 new recordings, also 50% and 50%, of which they already registered more than 500.
Unlike the first collection of recordings, now they do it with a more specific medical protocol, defined by specialists from the Pedro de Elizalde hospital.
Thus, the Secretariat staff approach the people who are going to attend the Febrile Emergency Units that are at the entrances to the hospitals, and ask them if you voluntarily want to record your cough.
At the current rate, they estimate that in a couple of weeks they will reach 5,000 recordings. After that, they will see what level of success the artificial intelligence marks again
If the program responds well, the goal is to use it as a diagnostic input. And for that they would take advantage of “Boti”, the artificial intelligence chat which since last year has been responding on WhatsApp and provides information on the City’s public services, in addition to answering questions about gender violence.
In fact, Boti (who works at 11-5050-0147) can already be consulted for other symptoms of covid. The system guides the neighbor who is contacted, through a triage of symptoms for which it ends recommending or not consulting the doctor.
In that section, the cough registry could be added. The neighbor should send a WhatsApp audio, the artificial intelligence program would analyze it and answer what to do.
For that, the same program would indicate how to make a correct audio recording, without noise or poor hearing.
“We are innovating, using artificial intelligence to improve covid diagnosis. We developed a tool that is then made available to the Health team, which will then define the best way to use it “, said Fernando Benegas, Secretary of Innovation and Digital Transformation of the City.
In addition to the symptom consultation, “Boti” is being used to follow up close contacts of patients with covid. Every day the bot communicates with more than 15,000 people to check that they have not started having symptoms. This control is maintained for 10 to 14 days.