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Israel’s Maccabi Healthcare Services and Israeli start-up K Health launched an application that will give people a better understanding of their ailments. According to the health company, “K” (which stands for “knowledge”) is the first personal medical assistant in the world to be based on anonymous information gleaned from tens of millions of visits to doctor as well as physicians’ notes and lab results.
The records in the database are being supplied by Maccabi, Israel’s second-largest health fund, which has computerized this information since 1992. The user-friendly app, which is currently available in Hebrew and English, is completely free of charge.
“K” initially asks only for age and gender, and based on the ailment, continues with several quick questions. Then the algorithms developed by the health company’s mathematicians and physicians analyze the information and reveal what diagnoses and treatments were given to patients with similar symptoms.
Although such an app certainly cannot replace a visit to the doctor, “When you know what to expect, you can be calmer, worry less, and make wise decisions about your health,” according to the K Health website.
The size of the database allows for answers on a huge range of illnesses, from headaches and arthritis to celiac, diabetes, and almost everything in between. In addition, the application “learns” from each new interaction, which will enable it to hone the questions it asks the next time.
‘Blue-and-White Product that Brings a Lot of Pride’
The developers, which began the project about a year ago, are confident that their invention will help people much more than online searches, which, their research shows, 75 percent of the public does.
“The patient deserves reliable and well-established information,” says Maccabi director-general Ran Saar. “Online search results of medical information are perceived by the user as neither reliable nor personal. Any solution proposed so far was not based on real and personal medical information and therefore was not accurate enough.”
K Health, founded by Israelis and developed in partnership with Maccabi and the Israel-based Morris Kahn Institute for Research and Innovation, “is an Israeli development,” Saar stated. “It’s a blue-and-white product that brings a lot of pride to Maccabi and Israel.”