As this technology spreads across EU countries, some applications are even able to offer a physician consultation on your personal smartphone. To find out about this rapidly accelerating innovation in the tech sector, we went to meet the team at ADA, an application that answers patients' questions about their health and helps physicians provide the right diagnosis.
“ADA works in a similar way as having a conversation with a doctor. You describe the symptoms you are experiencing, and as the software refines its questions, artificial intelligence (AI) tells you what your disease may be - and how to fix it.” This is how Nathan Nathrath, founder and CEO of ADA, describes the application. ADA nonetheless makes it clear that it does not provide a medical diagnosis per se but instead hopes to help the narrowing down of possible explanations for any given symptoms.
In order to build an AI capable of emitting "diagnostic leads" that aim to mimic the approach of a generalist physician, ADA's teams worked closely with practitioners. The AI was also trained on real patient cases, for which the developers knew the answer, in order to refine its reasoning.
"The idea is not to replace doctors, but instead to support them," insists Ewelina Türk, ADA's medical content manager. The application helps physicians to ask the right questions and perform a relevant history, i.e., trace the patient's pain or disease history. In addition, the application is able to also identify around 7,000 rare diseases.
"We have received excellent feedback from physicians," says Ewelina Türk. "It must be understood that ADA´s artificial intelligence is not the result of a single opinion - but of many different opinions. It is, therefore, more precise than a single physician," she summarizes.
However, the digital health sector still has a fresh memory of the Babylon app mini-scandal in the United Kingdom. This application asked patients a series of questions, and depending on the symptoms, AI then allowed Londoners to get an appointment with a doctor. But quickly, users played a trick on AI by lying about their symptoms, in order to get an appointment quickly.
"It is in everyone's interest to reach a conclusion as precisely as possible," says Ewelina Türk. "And the application's data is not only those of the users: its intelligence is tested by real doctors.”
Ada is currently available in Germany and the United Kingdom.