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Croatia launches its first COVID-19 digital assistant

Andrija (Photo: andrija.ai)

ZAGREB, April 14 (Hina) – Croatia on Tuesday unveiled its first digital assistant to advise people on how to diagnose and manage suspected COVID-19 infections.

This “virtual doctor”, powered by artificial intelligence, has been developed by Croatian IT companies in cooperation with epidemiologists, including doctor Branko Kolaric, who said at the presentation that by developing the new COVID-19 service, Croatia followed the examples of South Korea and Singapore.

The digital assistant is available at https://andrija.ai/ and can be activated on WhatsApp under the name Andrija.

The digital assistant “Andrija” is named after Andrija Stampar, a distinguished Croatian doctor and scholar in the field of social medicine. From 1931 to 1933, Stampar worked as an expert in the Health Organization of the League of Nations. He also spent time in China, from 1933 to 1936, after the Health Organization sent him as an advisor to help the Chinese health administration in the control of mass infectious diseases that appeared after devastating floods in 1931.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic’s chief-of-staff Zvonimir Frka-Petesic said that the online health self-assessment tool was available to all Croatian smartphone users.

Kolaric said that the digital assistant was very helpful to the healthcare system as it could process tens of thousands of requests on a daily basis, while doctors can handle some 50 calls a day.

Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica said that the digital assistant was a voluntary and anonymous application.

The companies that have participated in the development of the application are Mindsmiths, Neos, Oracle Croatia and Infobip, members of the CroAI artificial intelligence association.

The government praised the companies for working free of charge on this project, aimed at combating the spread of the coronavirus.

Mislav Malenica, the founder of the Mindsmith company, said that Croatia was a step ahead of other countries by having developed the digital assistant that provides users with personalised health advice and guidance.

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