Healthcare unit of the London-based AI lab DeepMind – DeepMind Health – is being handed over to Google. DeepMind Health will now sit under Google Health headed by David Feinberg who is tasked with restructuring all of Google’s disparate bets in healthcare.
DeepMind Health was launched in February 2016 with intent to help the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) by providing AI-powered apps and services. DeepMind Health became best known for its patient monitoring Streams app, which was used by healthcare practitioners across the UK. But ironically, the Streams app never used any AI; rather, it uses a National Health Service algorithm.
DeepMind, however, quietly inked expensive data-sharing agreements with NHS which in fact was deemed to be illegal by the country’s data watchdogs, in 2017. The first deployment of Streams, by the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, turned into a controversy after it was discovered that the huge transfer of patient records from the Royal Free to DeepMind failed to comply with the Data Protection Act.
"Our vision is for Streams to now become an AI-powered assistant… combining the best algorithms with intuitive design, all backed up by rigorous evidence… The team working within Google, alongside brilliant colleagues from across the organization, will help make this vision a reality,” writes DeepMind founders, in a blog post.
The Streams team will remain in London and will continue to carry out ongoing projects with the NHS, such as using AI to spot eye disease in routine scans.