Babylon has launched a new service to provide people with updated information about coronavirus, check symptoms and help them get appropriate assistance.

Care Assistant allows users to log their symptoms and offers advice to those who may have contracted coronavirus to keep them safe and prevent them from spreading the illness further.

People who are ill are offered treatment plan based on the latest NHS guidance and encouraged to log their symptoms so they can record how quickly they’re getting better or worse.

This includes information on self-isolating, recommended to everyone who displays symptoms of Covid-19 or lives with someone else who does.

Anyone who is more seriously ill is fast-tracked to a GP or hospital as needed, Babylon said.

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A spokesperson explained that the COVID-19 symptom checker is a separate section of its core artificial intelligence technology, with users being asked at the beginning of the triage if they are concerned about coronavirus.

If they answer yes, they are diverted into the Covid-19 triage, which follows the same criteria of that of NHS 111.

The spokesperson told Digital Health News: “The COVID-19 Care Assistant is a separate part of our current app – you get asked if you’re concerned about coronavirus and then diverted into the COVID section if so. For most people, who will have fairly mild symptoms, it’s about getting information such as on self-isolation, hygiene or caring for others, but there’s also the option to have a live chat with one of our team.

“The pandemic is putting a lot of strain on healthcare systems, and governments are expecting a shortage of clinicians. We have launched the Covid-19 Care Assistant service as part of a new way to help large groups of lower-risk patients with their needs, whilst freeing up clinicians to focus on the people who need it most.

“This way we can continue to help our patients whether they have COVID-19 or other health conditions.”

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That live chat is run by clinical support staff and overseen by doctors. If anyone needs to then they can book a consultation with a GP, normally within 30 minutes, according to Babylon.

Dr Ali Parsa, CEO and founder of Babylon, said in a statement: “COVID-19 is the biggest public health threat to our communities for nearly a century and Babylon has a huge obligation to help.

“We know how hard governments and healthcare systems are working to battle this pandemic and fully support their tireless work. We were founded to help tackle the challenges of accessibility and affordability of healthcare for every person on earth by using technology to increase the reach and impact of healthcare professionals.”

“The combination of our technology and clinical service allows our doctors and nurses to use their time for the most suited tasks, whilst amplifying their expertise for the benefit of all our patients,” said Parsa.

The COVID-19 Care Assistant is now available to all UK patients and will be rolled out to worldwide users shortly.

Digital Health Unplugged will be publishing a special coronavirus edition of the podcast on 27 March to keep you up-to-date on the latest news from the NHS and suppliers as the outbreak continues. You can tune in on Spotify, iTunes and Apple Podcasts as well as on Digital Health News.