Google AI Group Takes on Healthcare

Google’s DeepMind teams up with NHS on a suite of healthcare products.

Streams Screen. Image: GearOpen
Streams Screen. Image: GearOpen

A recent TechCrunch article reported that DeepMind, Google’s artificial intelligence division, is working with UK-based Royal Free NHS Trust to apply learning algorithms to the healthcare sector.

New Scientist obtained a Memorandum of Understanding between DeepMind and NHS that outlined a “mutually beneficial partnership, engaging in high levels of collaborative activity and maximizing potential to work on genuinely innovative and transformational projects.”

The 5-year plan outlined in the memo aims at developing software for improved patient confidentiality, real-time health prediction, and reading medical images. Although NHS previously provided DeepMind with 1.6 million patients’ personal information including names, addresses, and details of medical conditions, the MoU states the hope for the collaboration is to gain “data for machine learning research under appropriate regulatory and ethical approvals.”

The two companies have collaborated in the past on an app called Streams, but the software was written by NHS and wasn’t powered by algorithms. The Streams app may need to be registered as a medical device, according to the UK’s medicines and healthcare regulator.

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