Reckitt Invests In AI Symptom Checker To 'Unlock Self-Care'
Reckitt Benckiser has invested in 'doctor in your pocket' app Your.MD in response to consumers increasing demand for digital healthcare. The app's AI-powered symptom checker claims to diagnose with high accuracy a range of medical conditions.
Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC is looking to tap into the growing global demand for digitally-enabled self-care by acquiring a stake in symptom checker and health tracking app Your.MD.
The UK-based consumer health player said it had made a “strategic investment” in Your.MD, kicking off a partnership which would “bring free, intelligent and smart self-care solutions to everyone in the world.”
Aditya Sehgal, RB Health’s chief operating officer, said the decision to partner with London-headquartered Your.MD was in response to consumers’ increasing demand for “personalized, always-on, mobile and data-driven healthcare products and services.”
Your.MD had the potential to reduce inefficiencies in healthcare systems, Sehgal argued, by providing “cutting edge technology-based solutions.”
Introduced in 2014, Your.MD’s artificial intelligence-powered symptom checker app has been downloaded and used by more than 3m people in over 100 countries.
'Please Tell Me What Symptoms You Have Today'
Upon launch, the free-to-use app promises a three-step service to check symptoms, find treatment and help the user feel better.
At the heart of the app is an AI-powered symptom checker. Users can type in symptoms to which the chatbot responds with a series of multiple choice questions such as “how long have you had it for?” and “do you think you are overweight or obese?”
Once the chatbot has finished asking questions it gives its diagnosis. This can range from “the symptoms you reported should get better without treatment” to “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to find any causes for your symptoms. Please see a doctor.”
Alongside the chatbot, the app also includes the OneStop Health service, which promises to locate “the best doctors and services for your health.” The service offers links to online doctor platforms such as Doctify and to online pharmacies like HealthExpress. The app is centered on prescription treatments and does not currently offer links to purchase OTC drugs or dietary supplements.
The final service offered by the app is Health A-Z, which houses articles on various illnesses – from mild to serious and acute to chronic – with the content drawn from the UK’s National Health Service website.
Doctor In Your Pocket
Your.MD’s executive chairman Henrik Pettersen says the firm’s goal is to “democratize healthcare and place a doctor in the pocket of every citizen in the world.”
The app’s AI chatbot is learning from its users every day, Pettersen insists, with benchmark tests recording medical accuracy at 85% for the 20 most common conditions, and more than 60% for a further 500 conditions.
“Your.MD’s medical accuracy is benchmarked for diagnostic accuracy using externally verified medical test cases from Harvard University and the Royal College of General Practitioners,” Pettersen points out. “This is the same method used to test trainee doctors.”
The company’s CEO and co-founder, Matteo Berlucchi, believes the tie-up with RB will be a game-changer for the tech firm.
“We are incredibly excited to partner with RB to dramatically accelerate our speed-to-market and facilitate improved access to pre-primary care for all consumers, globally,” Berlucchi said.
According to Your.MD, the concept of pre-primary care is “about giving people the confidence to self-care long enough to recover or seek help when they really need to. It’s about checking your symptoms and receiving best next steps advice based on those symptoms.”
RB is not the first of the consumer health multinationals to tap into digitally enabled self-care. Last year, Sanofi launched its UWell digital platform in Italy to “simplify consumers’ approach to managing their health, provide easy access to information, and provide an insight on wellness issues”. (Also see "Sanofi Targeting Online With Partner Accenture" - HBW Insight, 8 Jun, 2018.)