Babylon, the makers of the NHS GP at Hand application, recently claimed that its follow-up software attains medical examination scores that are equivalent to those of human doctors. The company unveiled the groundbreaking bot during a recently head event at the Royal College of Physicians.
A different medical professional body claimed that it doubted the capabilities of the artificial intelligence (AI) technology. In fact, the Royal College of General Practitioners asserted that no application or algorithm would be in a position to accomplish what a GP can do.
To emphasize this statement, the body said an application might pass an automated clinical knowledge assessment, but the answer is not always straightforward in a clinical scenario.
For instance, there is a lot that ought to be taken into consideration, the emotional implication that a diagnosis may have on a patient and the considerable amount of risk to be managed.
Sir Malcolm Grant, the chairperson of NHS England, who was also in attendance seemed to be more receptive. In fact, he said that although it was difficult to imagine the historical model of a general practitioner not evolving, but the medical industry was at a tipping point as far as the provision of care is concerned.
Sir Malcolm, concluded by saying that situation was the reason that NHS was focusing greatly on what Babylon and other companies are currently doing.
The chatbot artificial intelligence (AI) was tested on what Babylon referred to as a representative selection of questions drawn from the Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP) exam.
This test marks the last exam set for trainee general practitioners or GPs to become accredited professionals.
According to Babylon, the first time that its artificial intelligence (AI) technology took the exam, it attained 81%. The company added that based on the results recorded between 2012 and 2017, the average score for human doctors in the exam was 72%.
However, the RCGP said that it had not given Babylon the exam’s questions, which means there was no way of verifying the claim.
Prof Martin Marshall, among RCGP’s vice chairpersons, added that the college test questions that they use are not accessible by the public.
Nonetheless, Babylon insisted that it utilized example questions that were published directly by the college while maintaining that some of the questions were publicly available.
While Babylon’s previous GP at Hand app refers its users to a human doctor upon suspecting a medical complication, the new AI-based chatbot can make the diagnoses alone. According to Prof Marshall, the idea that the technology can supplant human doctors is the primary issue.
Mr Parsa shed more light on the matter by saying that the objective is not to phase out doctors but rather for them to follow up on the diagnoses provided by the AI.
Babylon’s motivation includes delivering affordable healthcare to individuals across the globe. In fact, the company has been partnering with the government of Rwanda since 2016. As such, the company has about two million registered users in the country. The information from such a nation can help boost its chatbot’s performance.