01 Jul
Are Smartphones the Answer to Rising Healthcare Costs? Are Smartphones the Answer to Rising Healthcare Costs?

Are Smartphones the Answer to Rising Healthcare Costs?

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The founder of the Babylon healthcare app for smartphones recently said of his product, "I think it is going to be 10 times more precise than a doctor."

Artificial intelligence medical advisers, as Babylon and similar apps are known, could also control spiraling healthcare costs.

A Financial Times writer recently interacted with the app to pinpoint the cause and treatment options for some stomach issues. Madhumita Murgia explains: "A single 10-minute trip to my local GP, with whom I would have had a similar exchange, would have cost the UK’s National Health Service £45. If I had asked to see a nurse, it would have cost the NHS £13. Instead, my five-minute consultation had cost Babylon — and the NHS — absolutely nothing. A day of following its advice, and my stomach ache resolved itself."

The diagnosis that Babylon presented to Murgia was centered on billions of data points that have been gleaned from thousands of trial consults that have been conducted since the app's launch in April. And the company says that its diagnoses have thus far been accurate more than 9 times out of 10.

Compared to the more than 7,000 consultations that the average doctor hands out every year, the app will likely never prove better than a doctor. But it could give physicians a run for their money on the precision scale. In fact, Babylon's founder told the FT, "No human brain is ever going to be capable of doing anything of the sort.”

Smartphones are predicted to ease the burden on physician specialists within five years, says one expert: “People will get really intelligent triage... or be empowered to look after their own chronic conditions, like diabetes, via home monitoring.”


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Read 934 times Last modified on Thursday, 22 June 2017 07:20
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

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