Posted on July 20, 2016 by staff

Google DeepMind to involve public in NHS projects


Google DeepMind is seeking to win the public over to its controversial NHS partnership with a series of patient meet-ups.

The AI research lab has teamed up with the Health Service on two projects in London.

The first is a kidney monitoring app called Streams which seeks to assist clinicians at three hospitals in detecting early signs of acute kidney injury.

The second at Moorfields Eye Hospital aims to detect early signs of eye diseases which could lead to blindness through machine learning.

However the relationship came under the microscope recently when it was revealed that DeepMind has access to millions of NHS patient records for the kidney project.

And the BBC reported that 148 patients have opted out of the partnership.

By organising four ‘patient engagement forums’ a year at Google’s new London office in King’s Cross – the first in September – it hopes to achieve greater transparency.

“One of the things that we’ve learned from that experience was to make sure that we have not just nurses and doctors leading everything that we do but patients themselves involved at every step of the way,” DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman told BBC Radio 4.

“We’re going to be launching our first patient engagement forum on 25th September.

“Any patient is welcome. They don’t have to be a patient at one of the hospitals that we’re collaborating with.

“They’re invited to come and look at what we’re doing in more detail, ask us questions, give us feedback, make suggestions about things that we can improve, or new features that we might want to add, or new products that we might want to build, and generally tell us what they think about us being involved in healthcare and having access to data.”

The forum will be streamed on YouTube alongside a live Twitter Q&A.

DeepMind Technologies was founded in 2011 by Suleyman, Demis Hassabis and Shane Legg and bought and renamed by Google in 2014.

Hassabis was featured in BusinessCloud’s Tech 100 Rich List recently.

A review panel is monitoring the collaborative projects.