Babylon Health, a digital healthcare start-up, is leading the way in creating a virtual GP. The virtual GP is a robot doctor who patients can communicate with through an interactive video session. The programme, called Ask Babylon, is able to understand a considerable number of issues for the primary care setting. Using machine learning, the programme can then provide the information on the next step to take.
To prove its effectiveness, Babylon conducted a study alongside London’s Royal College of Physicians, Yale New Haven Health and Stanford Primary Care. Throughout the study, they put Ask Babylon through a series of tests. The results of the study showed that Ask Babylon virtual service was equal to practising clinicians deployed in triage and diagnosis. Furthermore, Ask Babylon has a team of scientists, doctors and engineers who continue to develop the machine learning.
The launch of Ask Babylon comes after the start-up Babylon announced a self-funded investment of $100 million in order to increase the staff size in London as well as the facilities and technology that can help to tackle pressing medical issues such as mental health, arthritis, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Another function of Babylon is Babylon GP at hand, which is now a part of the NHS. This programme can register patients to one of their five clinics as long as this live within 40 minutes of the clinic. Here, Ask Babylon works in conjunction with NHS practitioners providing a free service that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Patients registered are usually able to have a face to face consultation within two hours of requesting an appointment.
Babylon receives funding in much the same way as NHS GPs with a monthly pay structure based on each registered patient.