IBM and Coronavirus stories

AT&T and IBM Are Powering Remote Work for Healthcare Experts Studying the Coronavirus

Researchers and health professionals at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) are working with global health experts to study COVID-19.

AT&T and IBM are providing NHLBI a cloud-based virtual desktop solution that allows NHLBI workers to easily and more securely access and share vital research while working remotely to help contain the spread of the virus.

The solution can support up to 600 remote workers concurrently. It includes AT&T virtual private networking for fast, highly secure access to the IBM Cloud for Government. It supports easy and fast user authentication while meeting federal government requirements for data, system and network security.

This is the latest example of how IBM is working with healthcare organizations around the world to confront the COVID-19 pandemic.

Timely Support for Critical Healthcare Systems

In Singapore, IBM is teaming with the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) and Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS)—the national technology agency for public healthcare—to provide additional IT equipment and support for expanded hospital operations.

In one such emergency expansion, NCID and Tan Tock Seng Hospital, the main hospital supporting Singapore’s outbreak response, set up a screening center for patients with possible COVID-19 symptoms.  Working with IBM Services, the screening center’s IT systems were up and running within 24 hours. 

In China, hospitals had to quickly increase their computed tomography (CT) testing capabilities to assess the seriousness of the epidemic. Hundreds of hospitals in China use devices from one medical imaging company to print patient diagnoses, and that company works with IBM’s Technical Support Services to install its machines and keep them running 24/7. IBM field workers visited more than 50 hospitals and provided remote support for almost 200 more.

In addition, IBM is offering Watson Assistant for Citizens, an AI-based digital assistant, to healthcare organizations at no charge for at least 90 days as a way to respond more quickly to incoming phone calls and text messages. Watson Assistant for Citizens runs on the IBM Cloud, using natural language processing from IBM Research and AI search capabilities in Watson Discovery, to automate responses to commonly asked questions about COVID-19, such as “What are symptoms?” and “Where do I get tested?”

Healthcare organizations using Watson Assistant for Citizens include University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, as well as the Ministries of Health in Poland and the Czech Republic.

In addition to these and other client engagements with healthcare organizations, IBM employees are volunteering their time and expertise to help in many ways. In Argentina, Slovakia, the United Kingdom, the U.S. and other countries, IBM employees are making face masks and protective shields for donation to local hospitals and frontline workers. Elsewhere, IBMers helped set up remote networking capabilities for hospital employees who were required to work from home.

These are just some of the ways that IBM is demonstrating its commitment to helping hospitals, healthcare organizations and healthcare professionals confront an unprecedented health crisis.

→ Visit the IBM News Room's complete coverage of IBM's response to the coronavirus pandemic