One of the big advantages of using’s Microsoft Cortana system is that installing and finding new skills is extremely easy, according to Piotr Orzechowski, CEO of Infermedica, which provides the first and only health symptom checker skill on the Cortana platform.
“In Cortana, you don’t have to download or install anything. It happens on the site, so when you say open a certain skill, Cortana will immediately search for it in the directory.” Orzechowski said. Cortana will just open the skill that matches users’ search request, so they don’t have to do any setting, install anything manually. This is not the case for Amazon Alexa, for which configuration is required on the user’s end, Orzechowski added.
Infermedica’s Symptomate skill allows users to analyze their symptoms and discover what might be potentially causing them. It is built on an advanced reasoning engine in primary care, the purpose of which is to imitate conversation with a real physician.
It has been a significant amount of work to build the underlying AI, Orzechowski said. More than 10,000 hours of physician work was invested, as the company curated and built a knowledge base of symptoms, conditions and risk factors. The engine covers 800 primary care diagnosis in total.
“Instead of using Google to search for symptoms, Symptomate acts as a convenient virtual assistant.” For example, when users begin with reporting a headache, the assistant will ask for the gender and age, and ask follow-up questions regarding the characteristics, duration and position of the headache. The skill will then provide suggestions. The goal is to advise patients on what to do next when they are feeling unwell.
Upon providing the recommendation, Infermedica may connect clients with healthcare providers of their choice.
The business model is to customize Symptomate for different health organizations like hospitals, clinics, insurance companies and health facility networks. “Our technology can serve as a powerful add-on to the services they already have. For example, hospital can integrate our symptom checker on their main page to help patients make better decisions regarding their symptoms,” Orzechowski said.
Among the companies that Infermedica is working with include Allianz, one of the largest insurance providers in Europe. Allianz uses Informedica as part of its mobile app service for its members.
This is a win-win situation for health organizations and its clients, Orzechowski pointed out. The skill can improve the service companies provide, while minimizing costs for their customers, because if people are suffering from minor headaches, they can get their questions answered very quickly.
Available across Devices
The skill is accessible not only through voice, but also on mobile phones and traditional web applications. More than three million symptom checks have been performed across different devices, according to the company. The skill is also available on the Alexa platform, and Google Assistant integration is on the way.
Infermedica is a health AI company based in Europe. It employs over 30 people that include doctors, engineers and data scientists.
As for its next step, Infermedica plans to collect data and vital signs from wearable devices, so that it can provide even more accurate feedback and better recommendations.
Another plan is to set up a number that users can dial in. The checkup can take place over the phone as a virtual assistant will answer users’ questions on the other end of the phone.