COVID-19? This AI-driven app can assess symptoms and recommend next steps

Published May 5, 2020

Opening doors to high-tech care. For the Health of America.

A new  artificial intelligence-based app learns continuously from every interaction with consumers to find out what a set of symptoms might mean. AI doesn’t replace doctors, but it can be a smart first stop. This app is available to members of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Anthem Blue Cross.

A smarter way to check symptoms

Perhaps you’ve used an online symptom checker before. Maybe you retrieved a long list of possible ailments and found it difficult to decide what to do next. Members of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Anthem Blue Cross, as well as other consumers, now have access to a new app, Sydney Care, that can make that process easier. Its “Symptom Checker” may be better able to assess symptoms and potential risks because it’s powered by artificial intelligence (AI), a technology that makes it possible for machines to learn from experience. 

The symptom checker uses billions of data points from real world health events as inputs to assess 250 different conditions for adults. It can provide a user with a personalized recommendation – taking into account age, gender and medical history, such as a chronic condition. Each unique dialogue with a consumer builds on that knowledge and helps it learn more. Engineers and doctors also audit the dialogues and provide feedback to improve Sydney Care’s accuracy in real time.

Built-in COVID-19 assessment

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Anthem Blue Cross are committed to providing members with the information and tools they need. The app has a built-in COVID-19 assessment based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to assess a user’s risk of having COVID-19. In addition to symptom assessment, the app can now pinpoint COVID-19 testing sites in a user’s community, further supporting members of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield as well as Anthem Blue Cross who are seeking access to care. 

While a diagnosis of COVID-19 cannot be confirmed via virtual or remote care, doctors can address concerns, evaluate risks, answer questions and recommend next steps. During the COVID-19 pandemic, being able to assess symptoms and talk to a healthcare provider at home can help reduce the risk of exposure to the virus if you can avoid leaving your home to see a doctor.

“AI technology and virtual care give us the ability to connect with consumers when they want and how they want, putting them at the center of everything we do,” says Rajeev Ronanki, Chief Digital Officer at Anthem, Inc. “We are committed to providing innovative solutions, and leveraging data and technology helps us better serve consumers during this unprecedented time.” 

The next step: getting connected to care

Many members with questions about their health may be able to address them through the AI-powered Symptom Checker. For those who need an additional level of care, the app can connect a user to a healthcare provider. That might mean a virtual text visit, a virtual video visit or, if needed, a referral to an in-person facility. 

Interactions with Sydney Care are recorded, allowing for follow-up along each point of a patient’s journey, if necessary. 

Using the app is like having a private chat

Members can open the app and have a personalized, private chat about your symptoms, your medical history and other relevant details about your condition. Sydney Care compares your answers with what it’s learned about people like you and, within minutes, can tell you how people with the same or similar symptoms were diagnosed and treated. The more interactions Sydney Care has, the smarter it gets.

Learn more about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.

Sydney Care is a service mark of CareMarket, Inc. 

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 35 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.