Digital health via WeChat

Babylon, the British digital health start-up that uses artificially intelligent algorithms to assess illness, has struck a deal with Chinese internet giant Tencent to offer its technology on the group’s hugely popular WeChat social messaging platform. The deal will give WeChat’s almost 1 billion users the ability to message medical symptoms to Babylon’s app, which will send back healthcare advice, and propel the company into China’s huge medical market. It is the second international deal signed by Babylon in the past two months, following a similar arrangement it signed with Saudi Arabia’s ministry of health last month. Tencent and Babylon did not disclose the financial terms of the licensing agreement or who will control the user data… Babylon has more than 1.4 million users to whom it offers paid-for video consultations with human doctors in addition to a free automated symptom-checker. Almost half its users are based in the UK, with the remainder spread across Rwanda and Ireland… Babylon’s deals — which include an agreement with Bupa, the private healthcare provider, and the NHS’s nonemergency helpline 111, to help provide triage services for non-critical health problems — have been relatively small… Tencent has invested in We Doctor, a Chinese online healthcare provider, but said Babylon was a “leader in this technology”.
Aliya Ram