Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, along with artificial intelligence firm Rainbird, have developed a tool to assess the risk of frontline workers being exposed to Covid-19.
The tool uses intelligent automation, a combination of robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI), to evaluate a range of factors including age, health history, cultural/religious beliefs, disability and pregnancy. It also factors in the impact of Covid-19 on Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups.
According to a report by Public Health England, a disproportionate number of BAME people have died from Covid-19, with people of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, other Asian, Caribbean and other Black ethnicity having between 10 and 50% higher risk of death when compared to White British.
As a result, Public Health England has called for “culturally competent” risk assessment tools for key workers.
Using Rainbird’s tool, staff have access to personalised automated reports, designed to make it easier for occupational health teams’ to effectively manage their workforce.
The 24/7 web-based chat service determines individual risk, summarising the assessment in the form of a redacted report for line managers and HR and a more detailed report for the occupational health department. This can be used to decide whether workers should be shielded, referred for a health assessment or cleared to work in various settings.
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AI tool can help vulnerable frontline workers
The tool, which has been deployed by several NHS trusts, including Norwich and Norfolk University Hospitals Foundation Trust and Royal Papworth in Cambridge, can be used by all frontline workers, and is particularly relevant to those who are more vulnerable.
James Duez, chief executive officer of Rainbird, said:
“Our tool is also very quick and safe to update as more is learnt about Covid and the risk model changes – workers can, and should, come back and be re-assessed regularly as their circumstances evolve. Not only does it provide each organisation with a clear, bird’s-eye view of who is suited to work in which environment, it allows staff to benefit from a full consultation instantly, significantly reducing their individual risk.
“The tool takes into account multiple levels of highly personal and variable information, something as detailed as to the type of inhaler you use and when you last needed it. This allows for a specific, tailored assessment, something which would require huge resources to replicate, at a time when staff are at maximum capacity.”