Moscow’s anti-virus programme: Smart technologies help fight pandemic

December 22, 2020

Moscow leads the way in introducing new healthcare technologies and those in many other fields. The pandemic has merely expedited this process. Doctors have teamed up with scientists from the Lomonosov Moscow State University to develop a pneumonia calculator. The new neural network will help doctors assess the extent of lung damage. Other local digital projects, unveiled in 2020, effectively fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city received a Runet prize for them in the Technologies Vs the Coronavirus category.

This piece shows how digitalisation helps fight the COVID-19 pandemic and various projects, recently introduced by the local healthcare system.

Doctors’ electronic helpers

The healthcare system has been the hardest-hit during the pandemic. Moscow started introducing online services for medical personnel ten years ago. Since then, the city has created the Integrated Medical Information and Analytical System (IMIAS), one of the world’s largest. Today, the system provides a wide range of services for both doctors and patients. The online case history, unveiled in January 2020, still remains a highly popular service. The case history stores the results of medical tests and checkups involving technical equipment, as well as data on medical appointments, ambulance calls and other medical data.

People don’t have to revisit doctors for specifying this information, and this is particularly important during the pandemic.


According to her, online case histories have simplified the patient-data collection process, the most time-consuming aspect of medical appointments. “Doctors can pay more attention to patients and spend more time with them. They can view the entire case history, including consultations with medical specialists, diagnostic tests, the history of prescriptions, the efficiency of medicine and possible allergic reactions of patients who could easily mix up the sequence of events or forget to inform a doctor about something,” Svarovsky noted.

Doctors at a tele-medicine centre keep an eye on COVID-19 patients staying home. They call patients via videoconference or on the phone, assess their condition, provide recommendations, and they can also prescribe different forms of treatment. Online case histories also list the results of these online consultations.

Photo by Yevgeny Samarin,

AI quick on the uptake

The Moscow healthcare system attained new digitalisation levels throughout 2020. Experts have started introducing projects based on AI. This includes a computer vision experiment to analyse medical images, systems for supporting the medical decision-making process and voice recordings to describe radiological research. Speech analysis has become a customary tool for radiologists.



According to him, the Moscow healthcare system’s IT infrastructure has justified itself and proved effective during the pandemic. Radiologists were able to work remotely, without coming into contact with patients, on other floors and even in other buildings of medical clinics. The use of computer vision technologies is becoming standard practice at local hospitals. “They prevent mistakes and automate routine functions. It becomes possible to assess the extent of lung damage, the size of tumours on mammograms or CAT scans and to detect signs of haematomas,” Morozov said. “Today, it takes two doctors with two different opinions to evaluate a patient’s condition. In the future, only one doctor will accomplish this job using an algorithm. Consequently, the algorithm will provide the first opinion, and the doctor will have the final say.”

Artificial intelligence systems gather data on patients’ symptoms and help diagnose various health disorders.

It suggests a list of tests and additional consultations with  specialists needed to diagnose a medical condition. Doctors receive a number of ready-made options, but they have to make the final decision.

During the pandemic, all outpatient clinics and hospitals started working in a common digital space, Morozov added. Even reserve hospitals are connected to this system. The number of doctor-friendly technologies continues to expand all the time. Consequently, doctors will receive new digital assistants soon.

The CAT Scan Calculator is the latest solution for evaluating the extent of lung damage. The system analyses blood test results, saturation levels and the overall clinical picture. It compares them with thousands of other results and predicts the severity of pneumonia symptoms. In the event of light pneumonia, doctors tell patients not to undergo CAT scans. All other patients are sent to hospital, diagnosed and start receiving intensive treatment.

This reduces the load on CAT centres, doctors and hospitals.

“This tool is part of our information system, and our medical personnel will now actively use it. All Russian regions can use the tool, and the relevant hyperlinks have been published. In effect, every doctor can use it; the service does not require any registration and does not store any data on patients.

All one has to do is enter the relevant parametres, based on blood tests and medical examination data. The system shows probable scenarios regarding the severity of pneumonia cases,” Vladimir Makarov, Deputy Head of Moscow’s Department of Information Technology, noted.

The CAT scan calculator will help regional doctors who are unable to use numerous CAT scan systems. AI technologies will continue to improve and acquire new “knowledge” as new data continues to accumulate.

Photo by Maxim Mishin, Press Service of the Mayor and Moscow Government

City on hold

The website became the main platform allowing city residents to communicate with local agencies. Its users can access over 370 services and websites. They can relay meter data, pay utility and mobile phone bills and fines, obtain medical appointments and do many other wonderful things.

The most popular city services are also available on the Moscow’s Government Services and My Moscow mobile apps.

Since the pandemic began, the website has been the main source of information about the spread of the disease. It has a special section called Coronavirus: Official Information and posts updates on the current situation and various measures.

Those preferring phones can call a municipal contact centre comprising all information and dispatch control services. Operators handle calls 24 hours a day, weekends included. Robots answer about 40 percent of all the calls.

Photo by Maxim Denisov,


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