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Babylon Health partners with Tencent in a bid to enter the Chinese market

WeChat (Getty Images)

Through a new partnership, global juggernaut Tencent and UK health technology start-up Babylon Health are set to leveraging Babylon’s artificial intelligence system. The move will see both parties work to deliver personal health assessments, treatment advice and individual health records across mainland China.

At present Tencent’s WeChat platform houses up to 1bn users, where the app has now partnered with over 38,000 medical facilities in China. Babylon, on the other hand, has sought to further expand its market reach and product capabilities by partnering with healthcare services globally, working with the UK’s National Health Service, as well as private healthcare company, Bupa in a bid to optimise operations, drive further quality and lower healthcare costs.

The company has also partnered with the Rwandan government to revolutionise the delivery of patient-centered services in the country, as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"Rwanda was the first country in the world to see drones take flight to deliver lifesaving supplies to medical centres. Now the government of Rwanda is embracing cutting edge artificial intelligence by partnering with Babylon Health to ensure that every Rwandan who needs healthcare can access it,” explained Dr Diane Gashumba, Minister of Health for Rwanda.

By interacting directly with users, Babylon’s AI system will be able to identify specific illnesses, provide health status assessments, and triage necessary actions. For example, when a user describes his or her symptoms or conditions to the system, Babylon’s artificial intelligence can analyse and form a personal assessment based on those inputs, while making recommendations as to whether the user should seek further consultation with a doctor.

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Babylon Health is developing AI technology that has the potential to provide accessible, affordable healthcare services to everyone. So far, Babylon Health’s membership base has grown to more than 1.4mn people, spanning Europe, Asia and Africa.

Additionally, Tencent has also been propelling digital applications in the area of health and medical services, through tools such as AI to improve the capability and balance of healthcare resources. Its initiatives have been covering the entire trail from general health services to disease management, and all segments of the value chain, as well as corresponding real-life scenarios. This collaboration with Babylon will become another footprint by Tencent in the realm of big healthcare.

“Tencent is committed to improve our users’ lives through the means of digitalisation and technology,” commented Meng Zhang, General Manager of Tencent Medical.”

“We have identified Babylon as one of the leaders in this technology worldwide and aim to partner with them to put it into the hands of Chinese consumers.”

Dr Ali Parsa, Babylon Health’s CEO, said: “Tencent is consistently striving to enhance the life of the people of China. In health, Tencent and Babylon share the same ethos about making healthcare accessible for all. This is a partnership for Babylon to work with one of the tech giants in China, to bring quality digital health service to Chinese people.”

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