Clinicians and researchers at Stanford University are developing ways that artificial intelligence can help identify which patients will require intensive care amid a surge in coronavirus patients. Rather than build an algorithm from scratch, the goal by Stanford experts was to take existing technology and modify it for a seamless transition into clinical operations.

“The hardest part, the most important part of this work is not the model development. But it’s the workflow design, the change management, figuring out how do you develop that system the model enables,” said Ron Li, a Stanford physician, and clinical informaticist.

Per a STAT news report, the “machine learning model Li’s team is working with analyzes patients’ data and assigns them a score based on how sick they are and how likely they are to need escalated care. If the algorithm can be validated, Stanford plans to start using it to trigger clinical steps — such as prompting a nurse to check in more frequently or order tests — that would ultimately help physicians make decisions about a COVID-19 patient’s care.”

As more technology flows into fighting the coronavirus pandemic, this can only open up opportunities for investors in healthcare-focused exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Healthcare ETF Opportunities Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

ETF investors can look for opportunities in the Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEArca: XLV), Vanguard Health Care ETF (NYSEArca: VHT) and the iShares US Medical Devices ETF (IHI).

XLV seeks investment results that correspond generally to the Health Care Select Sector Index. The index includes companies from the following industries: pharmaceuticals; health care equipment & supplies; health care providers & services; biotechnology; life sciences tools & services; and health care technology.

VHT employs an indexing investment approach designed to track the performance of the MSCI US Investable Market Index (IMI)/Health Care 25/50, an index made up of stocks of large, mid-size, and small U.S. companies within the health care sector, as classified under the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS).

IHI seeks to track the investment results of the Dow Jones U.S. Select Medical Equipment Index composed of U.S. equities in the medical devices sector. The underlying index includes medical equipment companies, including manufacturers and distributors of medical devices such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners, prosthetics, pacemakers, X-ray machines, and other non-disposable medical devices.

Another fund to consider is the Robo Global Healthcare Technology and Innovation ETF (HTEC). HTEC seeks to provide investment results that, before fees and expenses, correspond generally to the price and yield performance of the ROBO Global Healthcare Technology and Innovation Index.

The fund will normally invest at least 80 percent of its total assets in securities of the index or in depositary receipts representing securities of the index. The index is designed to measure the performance of companies that have a portion of their business and revenue derived from the field of healthcare technology, and the potential to grow within this space through innovation and market adoption of such companies, products and services.

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