Samsung Rolls Out Babylon AI Doctor

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Babylon, the digital health startup out of the U.K., inked a deal with Samsung in which it will provide consumers with access to artificial intelligence-enabled doctors via smartphones.

According to a report in the Financial Times, Samsung has agreed to preinstall the technology into its new devices, enabling consumers to set up a video appointment with a doctor or get a check of symptoms via Samsung’s Health app. Babylon’s software will be used in that respect to provide consumers with medical advice. The Financial Times reported that in the beginning, the technology will be found in any new Samsung smartphones in the U.K. only. The technology will eventually be launched around the world as part of Babylon’s push into international markets. Users will pay £50 a year or £25 for a one-time appointment, with Samsung paying Babylon a licensing fee to access the technology. The two will share in the revenues from the partnership.

For Babylon, the deal is significant in that it gives it more of an inroad into the private medical care sector in the U.K., where it has already partnered with the U.K.’s National Health Service. The National Health Service hasn’t been too keen on the technology, and the company has raised the ire of doctors because of its partnership in which the government let some London patients use the app instead of seeing a doctor. Babylon gets paid by the U.K. government when a patient moves to its service but some doctors contend the company picks the patients that are easiest to treat, preventing clinics from getting funds to take on more serious cases.

In April Babylon inked a deal with Tencent, the China-based Internet company, in which its services are accessible via Tencent’s messaging app WeChat, which has nearly 1 billion users. It also inked a deal with Saudi Arabia’s ministry of health, noted the Financial Times. The startup has a valuation of $280 million based on its last fundraising, which happened a year and a half ago. According to the report, the company has more than 1.4 million users, with close to half of them in the U.K.

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