Twitter's co-founder bets on AI to solve the physician shortage

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Twitter's co-founder Biz Stone is taking a bet on Visit, a Delhi startup that is using artificial intelligence to fix the worldwide physician shortage, he wrote in a post on Medium.

Citing the World Health Organization, Mr. Stone notes the world is short at least 7.2 million healthcare workers, and for every physician in India, there are 2,000 patients waiting. He thinks Visit can help solve this problem.

Visit is an AI-powered chatbot that offers health advice and assists physicians. Patients input some of their symptoms to the Visit chatbot, which follows up with additional relevant questions on other symptoms and risk factors. Then, a machine learning algorithm helps determine the most probable diagnosis.

"Something I've learned from working at Google and from my own search service, Jelly, is that the majority of queries are the same. We're all just people — the same stuff happens to all of us over and over again. Visit’s AI will learn from the interactions between patients and healthcare professionals and get good on it’s own diagnosing common ailments," Mr. Stone wrote.

The chatbots are trained on more than 20,000 probabilistic relationships between variables including conditions, symptoms, risk factors and past history. After it makes its best guest, Visit connects the patient to one of its 2,000 health specialists in India via video, phone or chat.

"Visit facilitates a symbiotic relationship between AI and doctors, making a hugely positive impact for patients," Mr. Stone wrote. . "The objective is not to replace the doctor but to help practitioners in an assistive way by regular patient check-ins and reminders related to their care plan—including medication reminders, activity notifications, prescription refills and other key factors."

More articles on artificial intelligence:
Geisinger integrates machine learning to detect certain types of hemorrhages
'The mind of a mathematician with the heart of a doctor': athenahealth CTO Prakash Khot shares 4 thoughts on AI in healthcare
Tech companies are designing their own AI-powered chips

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