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Google is moving from a “mobile first” world to an “AI first” one within health, CBInsights reports

AI in health (Getty Images)

Google has been leading the way within the healthcare industry. Although its efforts have not been widely popularised in comparison to Apple or Amazon, the company has an acute awareness that the industry is ripe for disruption.

Launching a number of subsidiaries back in 2015, Google has strenuously worked to develop new digital tools to cater to growing consumer demand for increasingly connected care which will improve efficiencies and positive patient outcomes.  

Whilst its subsidiary Verily has become focused on utilising data to improve healthcare through the use of new analytical tools, its DeepMind division is supporting Google’s drive to become a leader in the AI space, and find new ways in which AI can be adopted in healthcare to provide new insights and enable further opportunities to innovate. Thirdly, its Calico division is working to adopt solutions within age-related diseases.

The technology giant has become one of the leading investors, and an active investor and acquirer of AI companies, a report by CBInsights has found.

“If AI can shape healthcare, it has to work through the regulations of healthcare. In fact, I see that as one of the biggest areas where the benefits will play out for the next 10-20 years,” Google’s Chief Executive Officer, Sundar Pichai has said.

DeepMind

Google’s subsidiary, DeepMind, is working within the Ai space and is set to overhaul the efficiency of present clinical systems. Undertaking AI research with the NHS in the United Kingdom in 2016, the subsidiary is also working with University College London to implement AI into traditional cancer treatment, the report has noted.

Additionally, it has also partnered with MoorfieldsEeye Hospital to transform the use of traditional eye scans.

Traditional clinical systems have been unable to migrate effectively. Breakdowns in communication from provider to provider has negatively impacted the patient experience, something of which is becoming increasingly significant as a result of a consumer demand for bespoke solutions.

DeepMind is therefore looking to overhaul such barriers in the industry by implementing of a new healthcare standard, named Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR). This will support the establishment of a new, connected care pathway and deliver care with is second to none.

Verily

From 2013-2017, digital healthcare deals under Google Ventures has now risen to over 70.

By looking at enhance its healthcare delivery through looking at ways to identify, diagnosis and manage diseases at a quicker pace, Verily has invested in a number of healthcare, pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Its $300mn investment within the EU Biotech Fund in June 2017 and its funding of biotech start-up XtalPi, undertaken with Tencent and Sequoia, are a couple of note.

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Additionally, it has established the Verily Partner Space to support start-ups and encourage entrepreneurs to meet their potential. This has become aligned to the subsidiary’s investment in a number of specialised areas across its research operations.

Diabetes

Partnering with biopharma company Sanofi has seen the establishment of joint venture Onduo, which will focus on delivering comprehensive solutions. This will involve combining devices, software, medicine and professional care within disease management.

Merging its technical expertise with Sanofi’s clinical knowledge, the two companies will create exceptional treatments to those living with type 2 diabetes. Over time, Onduo will move its focus to develop solutions for those with type 1 diabetes.

Sutter Health of Northern California and Allegheny Health Network of western Pennsylvania are among the first healthcare networks to collaborate with Verily and Onduo to test the platform with healthcare professionals and people with type 2 diabetes in a clinical care setting.

Allegheny Health Network is an academic healthcare system consisting of eight hospitals, outpatient surgery centres, health and wellness pavilions, a research institute and more than 1,100 employed physicians.

"With Onduo, Sanofi and Verily are bringing forward a platform that is novel and critical in diabetes management," commented Steven V. Edelman, M.D., Founder and Director of TCOYD. "Onduo is a company focused on the improvement of health outcomes through the marriage of technology and medicine.  

Further partnerships

Through various partnerships, Verily is placing significant focus in a number of other areas. Such examples are its research into the development of implantable eye devices to support those with weakened eyesight, as well the development of solutions for those with Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis.

Partnering with GlaxoSmithKline will enable the company to create a way to control how electrical signals flow throughout the body for those with multiple sclerosis. Its efforts will support patients with their posture, and even halt the disease, the report has found.

Additionally, Verily’s collaboration with Johnson & Johnson has seen it develop robots to support complex surgeries.

Furthermore, Verily’s “One Brave Idea” has seen Verily work within the detection, prevention and possible reversal of coronary heart disease.

Whilst Google provides G Suite for healthcare professionals, it will increasingly look at new ways to promote collaboration and the sharing of data through the use of new technologies, implementing robust security measures in the process.

It will also promote transparency through the adoption of open-source tools for researchers across a number of specialist areas, e.g. genomics.

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