Babylon Health, a British startup company, has recently announced its plans to invest $100 million towards hiring over 500 employees in the next year to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into healthcare. By nearly doubling their staff of engineers, scientists, and researchers, the UK-based company hopes to expand their management of chronic diabetes like depression and diabetes.
Babylon Health founder Ali Parsa claims that the company’s next plan is to use the AI platform to assist doctors and patients in managing chronic illnesses. Their new AI research will build upon their existing software that was showcased earlier this summer, which is capable of assessing symptoms and providing diagnosis with greater accuracy than physicians. The company plans to expand AI from the primary care setting to better diagnosing and managing chronic diseases, an issue that is currently overwhelming UK’s NHS services.
Parsa claims that with this recent investment, Babylon will bolster their current staff to over 1,000 employees, and that the company will move to their new headquarters in London within the next 18 months. This expansion will also build upon their current office in Kensington, London, where they plan to take over the rest of the offices in the building.
The company’s announcement aligned with an endorsement from Matt Hancock, health secretary who plans to use technology to reform the NHS. Hancock has accused the NHS of resisting a revolution in healthcare with their refusal to expand virtual general practitioner services.
Babylon Health has recently been under some criticism from the medical community for their ‘GP at Hand’ application, which allows patients to use video chat appointments with doctors. Critics claim that Babylon would be receiving NHS funding for focusing on young, more fit patients that are most likely to utilize these video services, leaving general practitioners with the complications tethered to caring for elderly patients with more difficult conditions.
Parsa dismissed this claim, referring it to be “complete nonsense”. He states that not only are elderly patients using GP at Hand at an increasing rate, but that figures show that surgeries yield less revenue when conducted upon a younger patient population. When questioned as to whether Babylon would submit their research with AI for peer review, Parsa criticized the current model of waiting a year and a half for journal acceptance as being outdated.
“One person every few seconds is using our technology,” Parsa said. He also referenced a net promoter score of 82, a method of quantifying customer satisfaction. “We published the paper, we showed the methodology… the only thing we didn’t do was this situation of waiting 18 months for a peer-reviewed paper.”
Babylon Healthcare targets chronic disease in $100 million expansion: Artificial intelligence company Babylon Health said it would invest $100 million to double its team of engineers and scientists in London and expand its capabilities to manage chronic… https://t.co/RyltcO2fAh pic.twitter.com/waEjuKXhlF
— Asif (@AsifPatel79) September 13, 2018