[Startup News] Get Your Medical Advice From An App, Not A Doctor

Benerva Suarez
March 5, 2020

Digital health platforms like Your.MD are emerging around the world to address a disturbing trend, namely a steady drop in visits to primary care providers by people who are insured and can’t afford the rising out-of-pocket health costs. Why is this an issue? Regular visits to a primary care doctor are essential for good health. Research shows that primary care helps prevent illness and death. If people don’t visit their primary care doctors routinely their health may deteriorate.

At the same time, the primary health care systems worldwide are overloaded with doctors struggling to attend to growing numbers of patients. Then there is the added problem of a dearth of doctors in emerging economies. What’s needed are self-care ideas like the Your.MD bot that helps people make appropriate decisions for their health. 

London-based Your.MD, a personal care assistant platform, has established itself as a trustworthy AI health care guide – the app is currently used by more than 3 million people.

Your personal health assistant

A diagnostic bot like Your.MD can help by providing consumers with accurate and personalized health information, in many cases cutting out the need for a visit to the doctor. 

Your.MD uses a chatbot to analyze users’ symptoms through their input, and makes a diagnosis as well as provides medical information and guidance on what to do next. The app can assist you to find out what your nagging symptoms mean and can either spare you a visit to the doctor or suggest a medical professional for you to consult. 

In fact, the app puts users in touch with a list of trusted health service providers and products and so provides a complete self-care service. This is where the company’s fitting business model comes in. 

Your.MD doesn’t only provide safe health advice to users; they provide them with a list of trusted products and services to address their health issue effectively. The telecare service launched a marketplace, aptly called, OneStop Health, where users have access to more than 100 providers of high quality health products, apps and services.

Creating trust in technology for medical advice

One of the initial challenges faced by the startup was how to get people to trust a bot rather than a human being with their health. 

Some of the steps the company took, include establishing a clinical advisory and governance board consisting of independent clinicians; obtaining European Certification as a Medical Device (class 1), and pursuing and achieving the ePrivacy seal the points to the secure protection of all their data.

AI transforming the healthcare industry

The healthcare company is part of a growing number of innovative startups that are using artificial intelligence (AI) for diagnostic purposes. The use of AI is one of the top trends in healthcare. Since smartphones first came on the market a decade ago, the estimated number of mobile health apps has increased to approximately 325,000 in 2017.

According to CB Insights, healthcare AI startups have raised $4.3B across 576 deals since 2013, making it the industry with the most AI deals. 

The UK startups have especially been dominating the medical AI sector. According to a new report from London-based investment firm MMC Ventures, the UK has been named “the heartland of European healthcare AI.” The country’s Department of Health and Social Care last August unveiled plans to establish a national artificial intelligence laboratory (AI lab) that aims to deliver enhanced healthcare through improved diagnosis and screening capabilities. The investment will be worth £250m.

Artificial intelligence applied to social care

CAM.A.I is another UK-based AI company active in the health care sector, specifically social care. Listed as the Top 10 AI in Healthcare Startups by Cambridge Wireless, the team is actually a partnership between Cambridge University academics, Social Media companies and Children’s Charities.

The concept is simple: to create a chatbot that interacts with young internet users who might be at risk of self-harm and offer psychological support. The chatbot engages with users when they come across images of self-harm on the internet and tries to steer them away from the disturbing images and their influence. 

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