Your.MD is on a mission to improve the way we seek health-related, namely self-diagnosis, information online. If you’ve ever tried to google your symptoms, you know it’s not for the feint hearted. The U.K. health startup wants to change that via its ‘smart health assistant’ app for smartphones.
Powered by AI and machine learning, along with data it’s licensed from the National Health Service (NHS), Your.MD aims to more efficiently provide information about your medical conditions, possible causes and what steps you should take to remedy your illness, including, of course, when to see a doctor.
In this way it can be seen as a competitor to the U.K. taxpayer funded NHS 111 service, in addition to global players, such as Symptomate, webMD, and Google Doctor.
Your.MD CEO Matteo Berlucchi tells me the app offers a “smart health assistant that gives accurate, understandable and fast health information that is relevant,” acting as a first line alternative to waiting days or weeks to see a doctor, or relying on information on the internet that is “immediate, but not screened by medical professionals or tailored to their health profile.”
At same time, by employing AI, it aims to be highly scalable and, well, smarter than a simple database, even one that is designed to be consumer-friendly and written by medical professionals.
“The solution we provide is scalable because of artificial intelligence, so that you can offer it to more and more people and make it better,” says Berlucchi. “If we had developed an app that connects users to a real doctor, we would still be relying on the scarcest resource (doctors) thus making the service worse as it gets more successful.”
That’s likely a thinly-veiled dig at telemedicine apps like Meedoc that effectively let you ‘Skype’ your doctor.
“We are trying to build a personal health assistant that people can use to find out what to do when they are unwell. In order to achieve this result without the support of human beings, you need to train an AI system to ask the same questions a doctor would ask and back the results up with reliable and clinically assured medical information,” he says.
Specifically, by looking at the correlations in the patterns of users’ symptoms and profiles, the system claims to learn continuously and become smarter in assessing the chances of a user suffering from a particular condition.
“The more people report the symptoms of the seasonal flu in a town, the higher the probability that the next user from the same place complaining about high fever and coughing will have picked up the same flu strain,” adds Berlucchi.
To that end, Your.MD has raised a $5 million seed round led by Smedvig Capital, with participation from existing angel investors. The app is free, but the London-based startup is eyeing up launching “value added services,” such as the option to talk to a doctor, get more specialised information, or book a test etc.