May 17, 2020

Buoy Health is leveraging AI in partnership with CVS Health

Artificial intelligence
Digital health
Catherine Sturman
3 min
leveraging AI (Getty Images)
Buoy Health has announced that it has partnered with CVS Health’s subsidiary, MinuteClinic, which will provide patients with access to convenient, acc...

Buoy Health has announced that it has partnered with CVS Health’s subsidiary, MinuteClinic, which will provide patients with access to convenient, accessible and affordable care at any of its MinuteClinic locations nationwide.

In its bid to compete with major health-tech players, such as Google, Apple and Amazon, the collaboration will see Buoy leverage AI technology to enable patients to gain a more accurate assessments of their symptoms. This will enable the company support patients ongoing treatment and recovery by providing easy access to care at one of the 1,100 MinuteClinic’s when required.

“We started Buoy to stop the spiral that consumers currently face when they attempt to look up and analyse their symptoms online,” explained Dr Andrew Le, CEO of Buoy Health.

“When someone is sick, they need more than just an accurate assessment of what is wrong; they need tangible options for what to do next. By aligning with an industry leader like CVS Health, we will now not only have the ability through AI powered triage to guide people to the right care, we will also be able to connect them with the care they need in the moment they need it the most.”

Through its healthcare app and website, patients can interact with Buoy’s AI chatbot system, which has been developed to reflect regular conversations with medical professionals. Patients are asked a number of questions to discuss their symptoms, which is strengthened through the use of machine learning and vital data, where feedback is processed in real-time. The software searches thousands of medical papers and journals to ascertain the correct information.

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With the use of AI, Buoy will gain a greater understanding of a patient’s needs and will recommend the patient visits their GP or speaks with a medical professional through the use of telemedicine. If additional care is required, Buoy will connect the patient to the closest MinuteClinic, where they will hold their place in the waiting line. In more severe cases, patients may be directed to urgent care or to an emergency room.

“Entering into a relationship with a health-tech innovator like Buoy to connect their experience to our nationwide network of MinuteClinic providers gives us the opportunity to provide affordable care at times and locations that work best for the patients who utilise this innovative technology,” added Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., M.P.H., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at CVS Health.

Dr Le explained to MobiHealthNews, “We’re enabling a better patient experience, as is CVS. We’re helping bring affordable care to as many patients as possible.

“What we’re doing is trying to keep patients out of the ER when not appropriate, out of urgent care when not appropriate. So as an affordable place for those patients to land, the MinuteClinic is a really obvious and really nice place for people to get care.

“We’re going to continue to partner with innovative providers and payers across the country to help patients who have different severity levels find that type of care,” he continues. “Whether it’s emergency care, or primary care, or a weight loss program, or behavioural health, all those other services we’re going to continue to partner such that people can really count on coming to Buoy, understanding what to do, and then enabling them to do it.”

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Jun 18, 2021

Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool 

2 min
Skin Analytics uses AI to detect skin cancer and will be deployed across the NHS to ease patient backlogs

An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system. 

NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion. 

Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making. 

In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog. 

Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening. 

DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.

Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges. 

"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”

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