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Tencent Begins Trials on Its AI-Powered Parkinsons Diagnosis Program
Prompted by the Chinese government, internet giant Tencent is starting to make waves in the healthtech scene.
According to The Financial Times, the Shenzhen-based conglomerate has begun trials on an artificial intelligence program designed to diagnose Parkinson’s disease. The trial takes place at Dementech Neurosciences, a private mental health clinic in London, and the program was built in partnership with British startup Medopad.
The tech giant was asked two years ago by the Chinese government to lead efforts to develop AI programs for medical diagnosis.
Last year, it partnered with London-based Medopad, creating a new “lab” for medical AI. The two companies are planning to target not just Parkinson’s but also multiple sclerosis and psoriasis.
The trial involves roughly 40 patients and is slated to finish within a few months. Tencent reportedly has 35 people working on the program, while Medopad has 30.
Medopad is best known for a smartphone app that helps doctors gather information from patients through wearables and phone tests. The little-known company has also developed algorithms that “suggest diagnoses to doctors or alert them when patients are deteriorating.”
The startup has also collaborated with several British hospitals. The Royal Wolverhampton, for instance, is using Medopad’s technology to observe patients remotely.
Interestingly enough, Tencent has not invested in the Medopad, but according to Fan Wei, head of Tencent’s Medical AI Lab, and Dan Vahdat, founder of Medopad, the two companies are “planning something for next year.”
Fan also said that China’s medical AI initiative is “unrelated and not part of” Tencent’s partnership with Medopad.
Photo: Public Domain