Telehealth company Babylon Health is working to develop artificial intelligence that automates various clinical tasks, with a goal of creating tools that more regularly monitor patients, Ali Parsa, the company’s chief executive officer said during the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on Thursday.
“I genuinely believe there will come a day—maybe a long way away—[where] a lot of what we do will be done by AI,” Parsa said. Diagnosis and treatment won’t just be about what a patient’s doctor determines, but also, “what your AI thinks,” he said.
Babylon, which last year went public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, posted $74.5 million in revenue for 2021’s third quarter, the most recent quarter it’s issued earnings results. That’s a massive jump from $15.8 million in revenue from the same period in 2020. The company also posted a net loss of $66 million, compared to $38 million in the year-ago quarter.
AI, when used to regularly monitor patients, ideally could help flag healthcare issues earlier—making care more proactive and reducing the need for more expensive interventions used in emergencies, according to Parsa.
Parsa added that a significant source of healthcare costs are tied to physicians, nurses and other labor, suggesting that there’s opportunities for savings by automating some clinical tasks.
He cited a study Babylon published in 2020 that found its AI virtual assistant could provide triage and diagnostic information in primary care with accuracy comparable to physicians.
“We hope one day we can create an artificial intelligence that will be there with you 24/7 and help you or guide you through your entire healthcare journey,” Parsa said, although the company’s early in that journey. “For now, human beings are an important part of the healthcare delivery, and will remain so for a long time.”
Parsa also spoke to how Babylon is thinking about value-based payment arrangements.
“Our pitch to our clients is that you’re already spending … on paying for crises and emergencies,” he said. “Just give us those costs, we’ll proactively manage to avoid those crises and emergencies, and save money—therefore, our profit will be by the savings.”
Executives from telehealth giant Teladoc Health presenting at the conference Monday also shared that the company was shifting toward more value-based payment arrangements.