DIGITAL PERSPECTIVE: Ada Health’s, Dr Vishaal Virani on the AI Symptom Checker App


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    Interview with Dr Vishaal Varani, responsible for Business Development at Ada Health:

    Ada Health has become one of the world’s fastest-growing medical apps in 2017. The foundation of Ada is an A.I. Engine using bespoke probabilistic reasoning technology, which works a little like an “Alexa for health”. It has been developed by in-house experts with deep medical and AI expertise, culminating in an intelligent symptom-checker that brings personalised healthcare to people around the globe. In addition to helping users decipher their ailments, Ada’s health management solution integrates with doctor-facing tools that allow physicians to use Ada’s technology to support their decision-making process. Ada’s aim is to improve access to healthcare globally, with the idea that in the future, AI starts the process of personalising your healthcare until a doctor takes over and has access to a pre-diagnosis.

    Ranked #1 in the Medical Category in over 120 countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, China, Sweden and Canada, Ada has been nominated as hottest health startup for the Europas Awards and has won a Silver Lion at the International Festival of Creativity in Cannes. Most recently, Ada Health has raised a $47M (40M Euros) funding round led by Access Industries, Len Blavatnik’s global investment group. The funds will be used to improve the product, hire staff and open a new office in the U.S.

    Coulter:Pulse recently interviewed Vishaal Varani to learn more about Artificial Intelligence and the role that Ada Health is playing in this highly innovative area of Life Sciences. Vishaal Virani is a doctor with management consulting experience working at Ada Health, where he focuses on healthcare provider and insurer partnerships as part of the business development team. He is also a co-founder of Doctorpreneurs.

    Coulter:PulseWhat do you see as the most promising advances in Artificial Intelligence for Life Sciences?

    Vishaal – I am most excited by the advances that empower patients to manage their own care. AI does this by democratising access to high quality health information and care.

    I am also excited by AI advances that improve the decision-making ability of healthcare professionals. This leads to better care outcomes for patients. So ultimately it all comes back to how AI can improve things for patients.

    Coulter:PulsePlease can you give us some insights into the role that Ada Health is playing in this field? Could you outline some of the key challenges and opportunities you are facing?

    Vishaal – Ada is a personal health companion that uses AI, combined with human intelligence, to radically improve access to healthcare information for both patients and doctors.

    The biggest opportunity for us is the chance bring high quality healthcare information to every single person in the world, no matter where they are, how much they earn, and what language they speak. We have already started on this journey, with over 2 million Ada assessments completed globally since we launched our app about a year ago in over 130 countries. Though there is a lot more to come, especially now that we have received some institutional funding.

    The challenge for us is that the concept of AI is new in healthcare, and many key decision makers still do not fully understand how best to implement our technology in their daily workflow. We are currently collaborating with several high profile organisations in the life sciences, provider and payor verticals to address this implementation challenge.

    Coulter:Pulse  – Please could you tell us about some of the defining moments in your own career in Life Sciences to date?

    Vishaal – I think most significant was my role as co-founder of Doctorpreneurs (www.doctorpreneurs.com), the global community for medical entrepreneurs. This got me interested in understanding new healthcare technologies, and also exposed me to the business world. These interests led me to transition from medicine to spending a few years in healthcare management consulting, and to now working at Ada.

    Coulter:PulseHow important is the “human element” in driving Ada Health towards its goals and success – i.e. attracting the right talent and leadership.

    Vishaal – Absolutely essential as our medical content and technology, which lies at the heart of our success, is completely dependent on the quality of our people.

    Coulter:Pulse  – Do you think AI is the future of healthcare and there will come a time when doctors become obsolete?

    Vishaal – AI is one of the most important elements in the healthcare technology revolution, definitely. It will bring more equitable access to healthcare, improved care outcomes and significant efficiencies to healthcare systems.

    However, it will only succeed with the help of doctors. Doctors will always be required to train and validate AI systems to ensure they are clinically accurate and safe. More crucially there are significant aspects of healthcare delivery that machines can never replace.

    Not to mention that many of the best AI-focused innovations in healthcare are created by doctors themselves. Ada is a good example of this, as our co-founder Claire Novorol is an NHS doctor by background.

    For more information please visit https://ada.com/