Comparing Successful AI Chatbots and Big Data Healthcare Startups

Terenty Marinich
Digital Content Manager
July 26, 2019

Healthcare innovations interest us as a software development company. Elinext looks at modern healthcare trends from a professional standpoint to remain relevant at software development and offer our customers the top-notch custom solutions.

We have recently written some blog posts about big data applications in healthcare. The truth is big data impact in healthcare is tremendous (worldwide big data in the healthcare market is going to reach $34.27 billion by 2022, according to IDC), but it is not the only innovation out there on the market.

To not keep our blog somehow one-sided, we decided to continue covering big data analytics, and to add some “fresh blood” to our blog posts, we’ll speak about Artificial Intelligence a little bit (hello, chatbots).

In this article, we’ll speak about (and compare) startups that use big data analytics for curing cancer (Flatiron) and rare diseases (RDMD); and the leading chatbots on healthcare markets (Babylon Health and Florence)

Flatiron and RDMD

Flatiron

The concept of Flatiron is fairly easy to understand.

Basically, Flatiron is an EHR (electronic health record) company that made it its goal to fight cancer by accelerating research about the disease. They do it by unifying patient’s data so it would be easier to analyze and gain insights from.

Source: flatiron.com

It has a noble cause and it is worth tons of money. Pharmaceutical giant Roche purchased the company back in 2018 for solid $1.9 billion.

At the time of the acquisition, Flatiron was partnered with over 265 community cancer clinics, six major academic research centers, and 14 (out of the top 15) therapeutic oncology companies.

The cool thing is that the tech company got to save all its connections, main goal, and the buyer was on board (for a lesser share) all the time of the Flatiron’s existence

Nat Turner, the co-founder of the Flatiron commented on the acquirement:

“For Flatiron, it means we’re going to accelerate the mission. We’re going to get more resources to invest. We’re going to continue to work with everybody, which was very important for us. Hopefully it … just means a bigger platform for us.”

Indeed, the startup had zero problems with finding funding, all they were in need for is the additional resources, particularly an international presence, according to Turner.

The products of the company connect community oncologists (community clinics are providing better care for patients while remaining efficient, independent and financially successful), academics (life science companies are using real-world data to accelerate research and generate evidence), hospitals (clinicians now have access to research-grade insights from within and beyond the walls of their institution thanks to EHR system) on a shared technology platform.

“Together, we can learn from the experience of every patient, ” claims the website of the company.

Elinext develops similar custom software for our healthcare clients. Contact us here to get a free quote.

RDMD

TechCrunch called RDMD “Flatiron Health for rare diseases”. The company is indeed very similar in many respects.

Source: businesswire.com

it started from bad news for Onno Faber – the founder – when he was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 2 – a rare disease that caused tumors, leading him to lose hearing in one ear.

He was amongst people with an uncommon health condition suffering from the lack of data designed to invent treatments for their ails.

As a successful entrepreneur, he saw an opportunity in this. The big challenge for creating new treatments for the diseases was getting enough information that is needed for that. RDMD is working on this issue with the help of big data analysis.

They analyze the data from medical records and find commonalities in rare disease cases. Then they sell that data to pharmaceutical companies so they can create a cutting-edge treatment.

The company claims that their mission is in empowering patients and communities to accelerate the development of treatments for rare diseases of all kinds.

As for now, some important information from patient medical records is often trapped in hospitals or kept private, inaccessible to researchers who need it.

RDMD aims to change that. By leveraging modern technology and data science, the startup aims to empower patients to remove the barriers to treatment development.

As loud as it sounds, they do have solid fundraised in 3 million on hackathon of 2017.

The figures are hard to compare with the ones of Flatiron, but still, are very significant for the app operations.

With RDMD’s app, a patient’s medical data that’s gathered across hospitals and health facilities can be compiled, organized and synthesized. If users are opting-in, the data can be anonymized and provided to research organizations, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies that pay RDMD.

So you can see how the monetization of such apps works. The companies that work with Big Data Analysis often sell the data or the insights on the analysis of this data.

United by the idea of big data analysis, these companies have similar goals and quite a different scale. However, both were able to get big funds for their software development and beyond.

It seems, though, that big data market has plenty of free niches.

Babylon and Florence

Babylon

In recent years, smart algorithm-powered, text or voice-based interfaces have multiplied, and they are also taking their place in healthcare. There is a huge possibility that they could ease the burden on doctors in primary care up.

At least that’s what Babylon Healthcare is aiming for. They think that it is possible to provide people worldwide with accessible and affordable health service.

Here is how they see doing it:

“By combining the ever-growing computing power of machines with the best medical expertise of humans to create a comprehensive, immediate and personalized health service and making it universally available”.

Babylon’s Artificial Intelligence system has been created by doctors and scientists using the latest advances in deep-learning.

Source: mobihealthnews.com

They claim that they are not just some searchable database and they tackle symptoms analysis judging by the information that users provide from the most up-to-date sources.

Much more than a searchable database, it assesses known symptoms and risk factors to provide informed, up-to-date medical information.

This is a symptom checker bot, sort of General Practitioner at Hand. Other services of an app allow booking in-person appointments and having video conferences with the doctor. As for now, the technology doesn’t allow machines to diagnose you completely, it could serve as a health information provider only.

However, doctors can even prescribe medication after a video appointment – that is a huge accomplishment for such an application. Online symptom checker could be somehow useful as well. The app itself has quite good reviews from real users.

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) even used the chatbot for dispensing medical advice for a trial period back in 2017.

This is not the only chatbot possibilities provided by modern healthcare chatbots.

Florence

The chatbot called Florence serves as a “personal nurse” on Facebook Messenger, Skype or Kik.

The bot reminds patients to take their pills, tracks user’s health, for example, body weight, mood or period, and helps them to move towards the estimated goals.

Additional features of that “cyber-nurse” would allow you to find the nearest pharmacy or doctor’s office.

Source: botosociety.io

The chatbot is quite simple, yet useful for those who are not that tech-savvy and could be forgetful about their medicine prescription.

It had gained significant popularity since the creation back in 2016. The creator David Hawig keeps working at the AI improvement of the bot.

While these to healthcare-related bots prove to be useful to some extent, some features are not covered by them and their competitors on the market. The perfect chatbot is yet to be developed, it just might be your idea that it lacks.

However, AI is the technology that lies in the foundation of great healthcare chatbots and it only will develop with time.

Conclusion

Big Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence are just some of the healthcare innovations that are trending and developing across the industry. Keeping a close track on who’s successful in the domain allows ideas to springboard for creating something revolutionizing (and profitable) on market. Elinext could help your ideas materialize to custom software.

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