Google's AI Division Ventures into Healthcare

By CIOReview | Wednesday, March 2, 2016
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FREMONT, CA: Google DeepMind, a London-headquartered Artificial Intelligence (AI) company recently decided to expand its AI competencies from playing “Go”—a Chinese abstract board game for two—to providing full-bodied patient monitoring and optimal cure services.

The firm is beta-testing two apps at local hospitals under its newly-launched annexure—DeepMind Health. This launch, coincides with IBM's pronouncement to house a dedicated healthcare entity within its AI platform—IBM Watson Health, a partnership between humanity and technology with the goal of transforming global health.

DeepMind's pioneering app—Streams, diagnoses patients who are at high risk of acute kidney problems. "We can detect from blood test results which patients are at risk," DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman told The Telegraph." 25 percent of deaths are preventable, so there's a really big prize for us."

The app has been tested at the Royal Free Hospital in North London, and is soon expected to be tested at another one.

The DeepMind team of innovators is working in-tandem with top doctors and practitioners on implementing a second app that allows prioritization of tasks, named Hark. "The first part is detecting which patients are at risk, and then how we manage all the various clinical interventions is what Hark does," Suleyman told The Telegraph. According to reports, the app has thwarted decline in 38 percent of patients.

This highlights the next steps in achieving DeepMind’s AI objectives: "That's where in the future machine learning comes in, we can identify which tasks have been completed for which patients in which order and optimize that process," Suleyman said.

According to Bloomberg, DeepMind is set to acquire the developer of Hark. DeepMind itself was acquired by Alphabet—an MNC conglomerate that is the parent company of Google and its subsidiaries, for more than USD 500 million in 2014.

"The people doing the most vulnerable jobs use some of the most out of date hardware available in world today like pagers and even handwritten notes," Lord Darzi, the head of Imperial Health Partners, told The Telegraph. "Yet if updated and made easy to use, it can save lives. A very simple tool was more impactful than a dose of antibiotics."

The corporation also has a data agreement with the U.K.'s federal National Health Service.