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Delhi-based health startup gets investment from Twitter co-founder

Delhi-based health startup gets investment from Twitter co-founder
Tech Insider2 min read

  • Twitter’s co founder, Biz Stone, invests in ‘Visit’.
  • ‘Visit’ is the innovation of BITS, Pilani students.
  • The chatbot dispenses health advice using AI.

Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone, has invested in the Delhi-based artificial intelligence (AI) company, Visit.

The healthcare platform was created by students of the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani in Rajasthan. Anurag Prasad, Vaibhav Singh, Shashvat Tripari and Chetan Anand came up with the idea of the AI-powered chatbot that dispenses health advice in 2016. The ‘advice’ it gives out is based on assisting doctors and learning from them.

Stone explains, “People interact with the ‘Visit’ chatbot by sharing some symptoms. The bot follows up with relevant questions to collect more symptoms and risk factors (is the person hypertensive, diabetic, a smoker). This triaging is conversational and low stress.”

How does Visit work?

Visit takes queries from multiple people and learns from them. Since many queries will be the same, it allows the AI to learn more and pick patterns.

In order to do so, Visit dispenses advice based on over 20,000 probabilistic relationships between variables (variables being family history, symptoms, conditions etc). This implies that if you have certain symptoms that may be more pertinent to a pre-existing condition in the family, then the probability calculations of that situation would be skewed to take that into consideration. The bot takes into account factors such as symptoms, risk factors, patient history, living conditions etc.

Once the bot is able to determine which medical condition needs to be addressed, it connects the patient to a health specialist from anywhere across the country. Visit currently has over 2,000 doctors who can be contacted via video chat, phone or text.

And it’s not a one-time deal. Patients will apparently have the option of keeping in touch with their practitioner for a follow-up.

Stone also adds, “The objective is not to replace the doctor but to help practitioners in an assistive way by regular patient check-ins and reminders related to their care plan.”

According to him, the goal behind Visit is to address the shortage of doctors in the nation using AI. In support of which he wrote - “Accessibility to quality health care advice is an overwhelming problem in a country with over 200 million people affected by lifestyle problems like stress, chronic conditions, obesity, skin conditions and more. This is where the technology approach by ‘Visit’ comes in.”

The situation in India is reportedly as bad a 921 patients per doctor. Platforms like Visit could make it easier for people to access healthcare services and doctors, exponentially.

Visit isn’t alone in its endeavour. Many online consultancy services such as quickconsult, Practo, Portea and Zoylo already exist but they’re still depend on man-power exclusively. Visit has the potential to be largely self-reliant once the AI has reached a point where it has enough information.