'Alexa, what are the early signs of a stroke?' GPs may no longer be the first port of call for patients looking to understand their ailments. 'Dr Google' is already well established in patients' minds, and now they have a host of apps using artificial intelligence (AI), allowing them to input symptoms and receive a suggested diagnosis or advice without the need for human interaction. And policymakers are on board. Matt Hancock is the most tech-friendly health secretary ever, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens wants England to lead the world in AI, and the prime minister last month announced £250m for a national AI lab to help cut waiting times and detect diseases earlier. Amazon even agreed a partnership with NHS England in July to allow people to access health information via its voice-activated assistant Alexa.
With the increasing use of AI in healthcare, a warning from medical union MDDUS of the'inherent risks in remote consulting' offers a timely reminder of the potential dangers. Following our story yesterday on Samsung's partnership with Babylon Health, an NHS consultant reached out with his (puzzling) experience of Babylon's technology: I gave it the most basic of medical presentations; 'I have a nose bleed'. Sit back & watch 130 seconds of the most bizarre triage you will ever come across… #NoseBleed #GPatHand #FlawedAI pic.twitter.com/53YPoZIOUF In the video, the AI is told'I have a nose bleed' – a symptom which a medical professional would be able to diagnose quickly. What follows is over two minutes of bizarre questions resulting in the AI calling the symptoms'quite complex' and failing to offer any possible causes.
You list your symptoms, answer a few questions about how long they've lasted and whether they seem to be getting worse. Then, without ever leaving home or queueing at the clinic, you get the diagnosis: a strained neck. Or, at least, eight out of 10 people with those symptoms have one. Would you like to have your case reviewed by a human doctor? The free app Ada, which offered up this diagnosis, was launched in the UK in April.
Digital healthcare company, Babylon Health, have raised about £50 million to further develop its artificial intelligence clinical diagnosis capabilities. Babylon says the new AI tool will help clinicians by providing them with a diagnosis of more routine conditions. Planned capabilities include using natural language processing to take notes in patient consultations. Speaking to Digital Health News, Ali Parsa, founder and chief executive of Babylon, claimed the new diagnosis tool could potentially cut the cost of a consultation by 80%. He said the latest £50m raised by Babylon that the money will go towards "engineering and mass producing the technology" for a new AI tool that will help clinicians by providing diagnosis of more routine conditions.
Image: Doctors were significantly better at diagnosing conditions correctly when compared to a computer algorithms, an American research trial found. Doctors "vastly outperformed" computer algorithms when it comes to giving a correct diagnosis, according to an American research trial. In the investigation, 234 physicians correctly diagnosed patients 72% of the time, in comparison to the symptom checker app, Human Dx, which only managed to score 34%. Published earlier this month in'JAMA Internal Medicine', the study stated that it is thought to be the first direct comparison of diagnostic accuracy. Human Dx, is a web and app based platform on which clinicians can produce different outcomes for clinical case studies.