HealthTap Brings Artificial Intelligence to Self-Triage

Neil Versel | MedCity News | January 10, 2017

HealthTap, which calls itself the “world’s first global health practice,” is moving deeper into virtual care by introducing an artificial-intelligence engine to triage cases automatically. Tuesday, Palo Alto, California-based HealthTap is launching Doctor A.I. It’s an AI-powered system that has been trained by clinical knowledge collected from the 104,000 physicians and millions of patients on the HealthTap network.

Doctor A.I. is, as the six-year-old company said, “trained in the art of digital empathy.” It scans the patient’s existing medical record, then takes a history. As patients enter their symptoms and answer a series of questions in a conversational format, the Doctor A.I.system applies clinical expertise from the vast HealthTap database to recommend proper care. “We have created a triage tool to direct [patients] to the right level of care for them,” HealthTap CEO Ron Gutman said. It is designed to take some of the confusion out of self-triage when people check their symptoms online.

“You go to the Internet and you go from having a headache to a brain tumor in four clicks or less,” Gutman said, only half-jokingly. Instead of letting people fret the possibility of having a life-threatening condition, Doctor A.I. is designed to present a series of treatment options. “We will direct people to the ER if it’s likely someone is having an emergency,” Gutman said. But the system also will recommend against a physician visit if it is a minor health issue...