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5 UK tech firms using AI to transform healthcare

Doctors and nurses
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Artificial intelligence is everywhere: your smartphone, on streaming platforms such as Spotify and Netflix and even in some smart home appliances.

But can the technology, which has seemingly caught the attention of most VCs across the world, be used in the realm of healthcare to drive efficiency and optimise patient outcomes?

We take a look at some of the UK’s most promising companies using AI to transform the healthcare space.

Google DeepMind Health

No list of this kind would be complete without a mention of DeepMind, a British artificial intelligence company founded in 2010 and acquired by tech giant Google for a reported £400m four years later.

DeepMind Health is leveraging machine learning technology – a form of AI – to boost the medical research field. In order to do so, the firm uses the technology to analyse swathes of medical data to improve the way in which disease is diagnosed and treated.

The ultra-secretive firm recently announced a partnership with Moorfields Eye Hospital to analyse over one million eye scans in hope of being able to detect early signs of sight loss.

DeepMind’s announcement, however, caused controversy, as critics argued the company had been given access to NHS data which is thought to include patients’ names, ages and their complete medical histories.

Babylon Health

Babylon Health, a digital healthcare app which has developed an AI-powered chatbot, has also partnered with the NHS to enable over 1.2 million patients in North London to check their symptoms through its platform.

Once patients input their symptoms, Babylon’s AI responds with follow-on questions in order to determine the seriousness of the illness, condition or injury. Patients are then advised on potential next steps: seeking medical assistance, going to a chemist or self-managing their condition at home.

Ali Parsa, Babylon’s founder, told Tech City News that his app could potentially reduce expenditure by the NHS and improve system efficiency – cutting down the amount of time NHS call workers spend on the phone with patients calling its 111 line to discuss medical issues.

Babylon, which closed a $25m Series A round in early 2016, is currently active in the UK, Ireland and Rwanda.

BenevolentAI

Founded in 2013, BenvolentAI is using artificial intelligence to accelerate global scientific R&D and boost the genomics space.

Its propietary technology, the Judgement Augmented Cognition System (JACS) uses deep learning technology to alter the way in which knowledge is created, connected and applied while allowing the analysis of mass amounts of scientific data. This is in an attempt to reduce the amount of time it takes to bring a drug to market.

Currently the company is focused on the disease areas of inflammation, neurodegeneration (e.g. Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s), orphan diseases (e.g. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – ‘ALS’) and rare cancers.

The firm, headquartered in London, has raised $100m to date.

Skin Analytics

Founded by Australian Neil Daly, the startup hopes to combat skin melanoma by allowing patients to track matters of concern via an AI-powered smartphone image recognition app.

Although not fully launched, Daly’s company has received support from professors at Oxbridge and Imperial College and the team, consisting of post-doctorate AI researchers and machine learning experts, is seeking to validate a system which could screen photographs for risk of melanoma.

If successful, the startup could help reduce associated costs for the NHS, while ensuring skin melanoma sufferers are efficiently diagnosed.

Antidote.me

Finally, did you know that 85% of patients are not aware about medical trials? This means that many trials go unfulfilled or delayed because patients fail to sign up.

Antidote, first launched as TrialReach in 2010, is trying to solve this by using AI to bridge the gap between medical research and people who need new treatments.

Having secured the backing of prominent investors including Smedvig Capital, Amadeus Capital Partners and Octopus Investments, and with $17.9m raised across three rounds, the firm has created a series of products to achieve its mission.

Antidote Match™ helps patients easily identify the trials that match to them; Connect Network streams the latest study information to patients on the platform; and Antidote Bridge enables users to add details about their studies.

Interested in AI? Check out our edition 11 of Tech City News popular print magazine – The Artificial Intelligence issue – here.

If you want to learn more about the type of innovation that is happening across the healthcare sector, subscribe to receive our latest magazine – The HealthTech issue. 

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