PRA Health Sciences deepens COVID-19 response with Microsoft Healthcare Bot

Major CRO PRA Health is teaming up with tech giant Microsoft to boost its so-called Health Harmony COVID-19 monitoring program.

Back in March, PRA launched this new mobile app aimed at tracking patients’ physical and psychological symptoms from COVID-19.

This allows employers, payers, providers and health systems to track the “health and wellbeing of individuals” who may not be suffering from the full force of the disease (i.e., are asymptomatic) and/or are exposed or diagnosed with COVID-19 during the pandemic.

People take their own temperatures—one of the key determining factors for COVID-19 at this point—and input the data. PRA also provides kits with tablets, pulse oximetry, spirometry and other vital signs capture as appropriate for the isolation program. It has now been rolled out to more than 7,000 U.S. employees and is also being used to assess people’s mental health in regards to the pandemic.

Now, it's ramping up the service, pairing with the Microsoft Healthcare Bot, an AI-based chatbot that “can recognize and respond to COVID-19-related questions,” according to the firm, all designed to to enhance COVID-19 care.

RELATED: PRA Health Sciences unveils COVID-19 monitoring app to track symptoms

“Through a series of conversational questions and interactions within PRA’s Health Harmony digital health platform, the COVID-19 chatbot compares users’ symptoms to U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidance and then recommends one of three available COVID-19 programs in which they should enroll,” PRA explained in a statement.

“For users of the Health Harmony app, the enrollment experience becomes more personalized and is more accurate in determining the level of COVID-19 care needed. For organizations that have implemented PRA’s COVID-19 Monitoring Program, the integration allows them to understand patient flow and to monitor, educate and individualize care with greater agility.”

“Healthcare and clinical research should be easily accessible to all people and tailored to fit their unique needs,” said Jean Gabarra, general manager for health AI at Microsoft. “When technology like Microsoft’s COVID-19 Healthcare Bot and a user-friendly interface like the Health Harmony app can be combined with the insights and expertise of a global healthcare intelligence partner like PRA, patients’ health and wellbeing will benefit tremendously.”