‘AI for a better normal’: PH’s COVID-19 Artificial Intelligence technologies unveiled

The technology which seeks to determine whether a patient caught coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or simply a viral pneumonia, known as CHERISH App, and the gender-responsive COVID-19 Cases Monitor (CCMon) were the two COVID-19 Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies unveiled by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on Thursday, June 24.

(Screenshot from DOST- Science for Change Program (S4CP) Facebook page)

The two COVID AI technologies were included in the list of the agency’s AI technologies and programs developed and implemented amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Since 1958, the DOST has worked on building the country’s research and development (R&D) capabilities, infrastructure and capitalizing on human resource development in identified priority areas in the fields of agriculture and aquatic, health, energy, industry and emerging technologies, among others,” DOST Secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña said during the launch aired via the DOST- Science for Change Program (S4CP) Facebook page.

He said AI has been included among the agency’s R&D priorities since 2016. “It is one of the important technologies that will guide and prepare us in what we call the fourth industrial revolution.”

During the event with a theme “AI for a better normal”, AI scientific outputs related to health, industry, agriculture and aquatic technologies and those for the betterment of society were showcased.

CHERISH App technology

DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya presented the CHERISH Study or the Retrospective Study on the Accuracy of AI-Powered Reading of Chest X-Rays in the Diagnosis of COVID-19 Pneumonia in a Tertiary Hospital.

“Implemented by the medical hospital in Medical City, the study aims to simplify and expedite the workflow in detecting COVID-19 infection by utilizing AI-powered technology that will serve as a screening tool through the analysis of chest X-ray images of COVID-19 patients,” he said.

The “CHERISH App” technology intends to develop and determine the diagnostic accuracy of AI-powered Chest X-ray reading software for COVID-19 pneumonia as a tool for ease of diagnosing the disease.

“Once fully developed, this technology will be able to assist medical professionals by offering an alternative, scalable, and efficient mechanism that would augment the current workflow of our hospitals and testing center to screen for possible COVID-19 infection among suspected patients.This could pave the way for a total different future of healthcare,” Montoya said.

The DOST cited that several studies suggest that CT-scan combined with clinical conditions, lung lesion density, morphological characteristics and other associated signs, has a high accuracy for the early diagnosis of COVID-19 and acts as the differential diagnosis from Community-acquired Pneumonia (CAP).

“This is vital in the triage of patients coming in and out of hospitals, most especially in cases where immediate medical attention is required,” it said.

Gender-sensitive online dashboard for COVID-19 cases

Also presented during the event is the DOST-National Research Council of the Philippines’ (DOST-NRCP) gender-sensitive dashboard with a graphical user interface that provides at-a-glance views of the number of COVID-19 cases or progress report across the national and local government units, regional, provincial, municipality, barangay.

The CCMon maintains COVID-19 related indicators that are relevant to decision making and appropriate response of the LGU managers such as congressman, governor, mayor, barangay captain, and LGUs’ health service providers.

These include the site, sex, age, unique cases such as pregnant women, severity of infections (asymptomatic, mild, severe), number of deaths, number of recoveries, health status of front-liners, and bed capacity of hospitals.

The development of the dashboard was through an NRCP funded project under the Kapakanan ng Tao sa Oras ng Pandemya program or KTOP.

The dashboard uses mainly data from the Department of Health (DOH)’s Data Drop and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the NRCP said.

“Through R&D, DOST aspires to aid various government stakeholders develop data-driven AI-enabled solutions that will help enhance government functions and delivery of its services to the Filipino people,” DOST Undersecretary for R&D Rowena Cristina L. Guevara said.

“AI is bound to change our lives. We need to continuously promote R&D and its useful outputs to ensure that all Filipinos benefit from science and technology. This is the way R&D can positively change our country and the world,” she added.