Google makes major inroads into healthcare tech by absorbing DeepMind Health

2 min read

Yesterday, Google announced that it is absorbing DeepMind Health, a London-based AI lab. In 2014, DeepMind was acquired by Google for £400 million. One of the reasons for DeepMind to join hands with Google in 2014 was the opportunity to use Google’s scale and experience in building billion-user products.

Google and DeepMind Health together working on Streams

The team at DeepMind introduced Streams in 2017. It was first rolled out at the Royal Free Hospital, where it is primarily used to identify and treat acute kidney injury (AKI). This app provides real-time alerts and information, pushing the right information to the right clinician at the right time. It also brings together important medical information like blood test results in one place. It helps the clinicians at our partner hospitals to spot serious issues while they are on the move. Streams app was developed to help the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

The need for Artificial Intelligence in Streams

The team at DeepMind was keen on using AI because of the potential it has to revolutionize the understanding of diseases. AI could possibly help in knowing the root cause of the disease by understanding as to how they develop. This could, in turn, help scientists discover new ways of treatment. The team at DeepMind plans to work on a number of innovative research projects, such as using AI to spot eye disease in routine scans. The goal of DeepMind is to make Streams an AI-powered assistant for nurses and doctors everywhere. This could be possible by combining the best algorithms with intuitive design, all backed up by rigorous evidence.

The future of Streams

Acute kidney injury (AKI) is responsible for 40,000 deaths in the UK every year. With Streams now powered by the intelligence of teams from DeepMind Health and Google, the scenario might change!

Antitrust and privacy concerns

Last year, the Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust in London went against data protection rules and gave 1.6 million patient records to DeepMind for a trial. Tension is now increasing for the privacy advocates in the UK because Google is getting its hands on healthcare related information. The data could be misused in the future.

Many have given a negative response to this news and are opposing it. As DeepMind had promised before to not share personally identifiable health data with Google, this new move has got many, questioning the intention of DeepMind.

Read more about this news on DeepMind’s official blog post.

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