Five years after Google acquired DeepMind, the health and artificial intelligence group is unveiling its biggest breakthrough yet in health care. Its technology is able to predict if a patient has potentially fatal kidney injuries 48 hours before many symptoms can be recognized by doctors.
In a paper published on Wednesday in the journal Nature, DeepMind researchers said their algorithms correctly predicted 90 percent of acute kidney injuries that would end up requiring dialysis. The work was the result of a project with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to help doctors get a head start on treatment.
“We’ve been really excited for the potential of using AI to support clinicians moving care from reactive to proactive and preventative,” said Dominic King, DeepMind’s co-founder and clinical lead, in an interview.
About 2 million people die every year across the globe from acute kidney injury, according to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The condition, which involves a sudden episode of kidney failure or damage, can be tricky for doctors to diagnose because there aren’t always immediate and clear symptoms. Studies have shown that catching it early can decrease the likelihood of serious injury or death.