Israeli healthcare provider Maccabi Healthcare Services announced on Wednesday that it will deploy a new AI-powered algorithm that identifies individuals estimated to be at the highest risk of severe COVID-19 complications.
Maccabi said the system will assess people based on pre-existing conditions and other health factors.
The system was developed by Israeli tech firm Medial EarlySign and the Kahn-Sagol-Maccabi Research and Innovation Institute. Medial EarlySign uses machine-learning solutions to build clinical insights for health organizations using electronic health records. The system analyzes the anonymized electronic health records of Maccabi members.
The two parties partnered earlier this year to flag patients at high risk of developing complications from the flu.
The new coronavirus-related algorithm has already identified two percent of Maccabi members to be high-risk patients, the parties said. That’s some 40,000 people of Maccabi’s 2.4 million members.
When an individual, flagged by the algorithm as high-risk, contacts a nurse or doctor to report COVID-19-like symptoms, the system will automatically notify the medical professional that the patient is in the high-risk group. The patient will then be sent for immediate testing. Tests are performed at designated Maccabi facilities, drive-in stations, or, if necessary, in the patient’s home. This allows for medical procedures to begin as quickly as possible following a positive diagnosis, helping to limit the spread of the virus.
The system identifies high-risk patients through analysis of dozens of variables including age, history of respiratory disease, history of hospital admission, weight and body mass index, smoking history, prescribed medications, and history of diabetes or heart disease.
“The algorithm and the fast-tracked testing it enables will reduce the number of severe COVID-19 cases and help save lives. This innovation demonstrates Maccabi’s unique development and implementation capabilities and our robust big data,” said Ran Sa’ar, CEO of Maccabi Healthcare Services
Professor Varda Shalev, director of the Kahn-Sagol-Maccabi Research and Innovation Institute. says early identification of those who are at greatest risk for developing the virus “is crucial to supporting healthcare professionals and to flattening the curve of the pandemic.”
Medial EarlySign said that it is currently in talks with prominent medical systems in the United States who are interested in the algorithm as part of their COVID-19 healthcare protocols.