British telemedicine company, Babylon Health has entered into a 10-year partnership with Royal Wolverhampton National Health Services Trust (RWT) of the United Kingdom to create what they describe as the world’s first Digital-First Integrated Care to serve about 300,000 people living in Wolverhampton and its surrounding areas.
With the partnership, RWT hopes patients will have more control over their own health, faster treatment, fewer trips to the hospital, treatment from their own homes and greater access to their own data, a statement said. In addition, it is expected that this will free up time for staff, who can then better assist patients with more urgent and complex issues, avoid duplication, and improve information-sharing.
Furthermore, it is expected that GPs and other hospital staff will have remote access to patients, so they can better monitor patients with chronic conditions, and personalize healthcare plans supported by Babylon’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology. All these services are provided through a free mobile phone app, which provides convenience and helps avoid unnecessary travel. Babylon’s app comes with an AI-powered health assistant integrated into the digital health system.
Among other things, the app allows patients access to:
Babylon and RWT hope these services will go live before the end of this year.
RWT Chief Executive Officer David Loughton said that, based on their interactions with patients, there was an appetite for technology to improve access to information and give patients greater control of their own health, wellbeing and social inclusion.
“For example, it should be normal for a patient with a long-term condition to take a blood test at home, have the results fed into their app which alerts the specialist if they need an appointment. The patient chooses a time to meet, has the consultation through the app, works with their specialist to build a care plan, and the app encourages them to complete it whilst assessing the impact it’s having. This is our vision for properly joined-up and integrated care, Loughton said.
Babylon founder and CEO, Ali Parsa, said the company has more than 1,000 AI experts, clinicians, engineers and scientists who will be helping to make Digital-First Integrated Care a reality and provide fast, effective, proactive care to patients.
RWT is one of the largest acute and community providers in West Midlands, with more than 850 beds on the New Cross site, 56 rehabilitation beds at West Park Hospital and 54 beds at Cannock Chase Hospital. It is also the largest employer in Wolverhampton, employing more than 9,400 staff serving in more than 350 different roles.
Babylon Health is famed for GP at Hand, a platform it built for the UK’s National Health Service, which allows patients to book consultations with a doctor over video call using a smartphone. The number of patients signed to this service has grown from about 5,000 two years ago to more than 275,000 in the UK and Rwanda.
Last year, Babylon raised $550 million in a Series C financing round backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, bringing the company’s valuation to $550 million. At the time, the company said it would use the money to fund its expansion into the U.S. and Asia, and also for extensive product innovation to cover chronic conditions.
We listed Babylon as one of the 38 best healthcare startups to watch in 2020.