Trend Tracking: Dr Batman and AI Robin
London, UK – One of our top 2017 Healthcare Trends, “Dr Batman and AI Robin” outlined the ways in which artificial intelligence is really starting to change the way diseases are assessed, diagnosed, and treated. While it is easy to focus on the latest IBM Watson + [insert health brand here] collaboration, there is plenty of AI action taking place in places that are more readily able to impact the average patient experience.
One such example is the AI startup Babylon Health out of the UK. Just last week they announced that a new round of funding has raised $60 million, allowing them to further develop the AI diagnosis capabilities of their app, which is scheduled to roll out later this year.
Currently, the Babylon app (which is available in the UK, Ireland, and Rwanda) works as a sort of an AI chatbot-powered triage service. The chatbot asks a series of questions, provides feedback on symptoms, and recommends the most appropriate course of action. If that happens to be consulting a human GP, the app can facilitate a video call with one for a fee.
Babylon’s goal is to build the most advanced artificial intelligence platform in healthcare—one that can truly diagnose and even predict personalized outcomes. However, the vision is not to replace the human physician, but rather a co-operative model where both human and machine are working more efficiently on what they do best. They see their product as a way to help tackle accessibility and cost hurdles to healthcare worldwide.
Why This Matters – The Babylon service is important, because it is demonstrating that artificial intelligence can play a meaningful role in the everyday patient experience. This is not a story about using high-powered AI to find new treatment options in oncology or rare disease. Right now, this is a story about convenience and confidence for many people that have previously had to spend daunting amounts of time waiting for a face-to-face GP visit, wondering about symptoms that in many cases, could be easily assessed and explained away. And, as Babylon’s AI capabilities and reach continue to grow in the future, the story shifts to one of global access. The service has the potential to reshape the healthcare experience in places of the world where access is most limited.