Dr. Kira Radinsky
Courtesy of Dr. Kira Radinsky
Battles throughout the history of human existence have been begun with such cries as “Deus Hoc Vult!”, “Tenno Heika Banzai!”, “Give me liberty or give me death!”, and a score of others. They were meant to inspire men’s souls to take up arms and fight for what they knew in their hearts was right. The current battle the world is in with COVID-19 has a different battle cry. It is one that calls not on the warrior in the traditional sense of history, but one that calls on the greatest minds the world has. It is a cry that Dr. Kira Radinsky heard early, and responded to with great haste.
“As a scientist the first reaction was – how can we solve this?” Dr. Radinsky already has a career that could be the envy of most any great mind on earth, following in the footsteps of the great entrepreneurs from the startup nation, Israel in the past. From her work on machine learning and how it can aid people with type 2 diabetes, to Parkinson’s, hypertension, and all the way to her current role as Director of Data Science, IL Chief Scientist at eBay, she has nothing left to prove to anyone. But still, she answered the call, the battle cry of the fight against COVID-19.
Her goal? To predict the future.
The Challenge of Prediction
Of all of the challenges in the battle against COVID-19, the one with the greatest possibility of saving the most lives is the battle of prediction. Where is the virus now? Where will it be tomorrow, next week, next month? How can we predict its movements with the most scientific certainty to prevent spread and save human lives? This is where all of Israel is working and succeeding. This is where Dr. Radinsky’s expertise is of most urgent need.
Radinsky: “My co-founder, Yonatan Amir, was the one that suggested we turn our efforts to stop the COVID spread that was looming to come to Israel. Diagnostic Robotics system was already built for many years for such scenarios. The company specialized in clinical triage and we believed that repurposing our system to triage the entire population will have an impact on the spread and the policy. We believed that using our predictions we could create an epidemiological map enabling decision makers to quickly close contaminated areas. Today, the digital triage system of Diagnostic Robotics is enabling Israel to close areas as fast as a single day from the identification of symptomatic patients and thus preventing (or deplaying) the second wave.”
They had the know how, they had a system that could be repurposed for the benefit of all of humankind, but how could they work to help save the planet? A quick answer, they couldn’t do it alone.
We all must pull in the same direction
Courtesy of Dr. Kira Radinsky
The team at Diagnostic Robotics is not just Dr. Radinsky and Yonatan Amir. They have internal support, and governmental backing as well.
Radinsky: “In the COVID crisis, unlike the previous epidemics, we were not standing against this as a small team of scientists, but rather we were backed by 100 engineers, scientists and doctors in Diagnostic Robotics working together to stop the spread.”
This team did not live in some bubble of a lab far away from the rest of society working away at a cure. They are mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, just like the rest of us. They weren’t working to solve an abstract issue affecting people somewhere far away, They were working to protect their families and loved ones as well as mine and yours.
She continued, “Unlike pandemics that were far from home, this one was affecting each and every one of us and our families.”
Outward caring can come and go throughout our lives as we become more busy, more entrenched in the day to day challenges of our own existence, but defending and saving your family, that is not something that ever leaves you. When fighting for your family you become stronger and more determined to succeed in that defense than 1,000 people fighting for something they don’t love. And at this time, all of Israel is fighting this as one family.
Per Dr. Radinsky, she and her team have “the full support of the ministry of health, the HMOs, Israel 911 and the Israeli army who made our algorithms part of a large operational system that had to function smoothly in less than 2 weeks.”
Agile and Government are two words that one will rarely ever read next to one another. But, during this time that is exactly what Israel needed, and the government acted in an agile manner with the shared goal of saving the lives of their people. Their national family.
Results thus far
An internal case study by Diagnostic Robotics on their National Israeli COVID-19 Monitoring System has shown tremendous results already. Their AI powered self-check home triage medical platform predicts where, when and how fast COVID will spread with 73% accuracy. This program is still in its infancy and yet the results are staggering. The continued increase in accuracy is their mission.
To be able to predict the spread based on current trends and behaviors allows any community to pivot regulations and governmental direction in real time to save lives and improve overall community health. Not to mention lessen the effects of the pandemic on local and national economies.
After the Pandemic, what does the future hold?
We must remind ourselves as we work towards the end of COVID-19 that this isn’t the last pandemic, it’s simply the latest. There have been countless in the previous centuries of human history and nature will unleash countless more in the centuries ahead. The opportunity we are presented with now is for our great minds to not only slow the tide of death and financial ruin today, but to create an invaluable blueprint for generations yet to be born.
Radinsky: “It was previously believed that the Digital Health transformation would take 10 years to materialize. COVID-19 has accelerated the transformations to months. Especially these days, due to COVID, triage from home has become of even higher importance. This home triage enables protecting the providers and also mitigates patient fear to come to the doctor’s office during the pandemic. Our systems triage millions of people every month pushing the boundaries of AI to handle the ongoing need for fast and reliable clinical reference.”
The explosion of digitization and ethical use of AI in the past three months is staggering. The blueprint has been created and needs to be refined, refined again, and followed to prevent needless losses like we have seen this year. COVID-19 has finally convinced companies and governments to release the brakes and give our greatest minds the freedom they need to answer the call to battle, and create a greater and healthier future for the entire world.