From search engine to smart devices, Google is now venturing into health care advancements.
Google’s health care system will be a web based tool that will implement the use of artificial intelligence to help identify skin, hair or nail conditions.
While previewing the tool at I/O the company said it hopes to launch a pilot later this year.
How the health tool works
To identify potential skin problems, users will have to use their smartphone cameras to take three pictures of the affected area.
Then the user will be prompted to answer a series of questions, including their skin type. And through artificial intelligence the tool will then give a list of potential skin conditions from almost 300 recognisable health problems.
Despite of this health care advancement, the tool is not meant to diagnose a health problem, but rather identifies the potential health problem.
According to Google’s Chief Health Officer, Karen DeSalvo, the company decided to tackle skin conditions using artificial intelligence due to their prevalence.
“People are coming to Google to ask questions about skin conditions. We get about 10 billion annual skin condition queries,” says Google’s C.H.O Karen DeSalvo.
The tool itself comes amid the COVID-19 pandemic where many internet users have flocked Google to get answers concerning health condition, many of which have always been inaccurate.
Karen DeSalvo is hopeful that this tool can help get people accurate information about potential conditions, as quickly as possible, without a need to spend most of their time researching online.
Google’s health team and its partners trained the tool on millions of images of skin problems, thousands of healthy skin images and other images from clinical settings. Some of the factors included in the activity were age, sex, skin type and race.
During a clinical test on about a thousand images of skin conditions from different patients, the tool identified the correct condition in the top three suggestions 84 percent of the time. This also included the correct condition as one of the possible issues 97 percent of the time.
According to a Nature Medicine article, the Google health care tool showed that it could identify 26 common skin conditions just as accurately as dermatologists and more accurately than primary care doctors.
With the latest reports it’s pretty clear that the tool can be used to aid doctors to accurately diagnose skin health problems.
While continuing with its advancements, Google is also working with a Stamford University research team to test its effectiveness in a health care facility.