DeepMind developed a patient safety alert app called Streams that reviews test results for signs of sickness and sends staff instant alerts if an urgent assessment is required. The app also helps clinicians to quickly check for other serious conditions such as acute kidney injury and displays results of blood tests, scans, and x-rays at the touch of a button.
The project is part of DeepMind Health, which launched in February 2017 with the goal of using machine learning systems to improve healthcare treatment and digitise medical processes.
Streams was first used at Royal Free NHS Trust in north London to detect acute kidney injury by analysing blood tests. It was later rolled out in a number of healthcare organisations, including Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation, Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
Nurses said the app saved them up to two hours a day, but the data-sharing agreement soon fell foul of privacy laws. In July 2017, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) ruled that the Royal Free had failed to comply with the Data Protection Act when it provided patient details to DeepMind. Among its shortcomings was a failure to adequately inform patients that their data would be used in the trial.
The issue was resolved by the ICO instructing the Royal Free to sign a formal undertaking to ensure future compliance, but further concerns followed when DeepMind announced that team behind Streams was joining Google.
DeepMind Health will now work under the newly formed Google Health led by former Geisinger CEO David Feinberg, as part of a strategy to integrate Google's various healthcare projects.
Privacy campaigners argue that the move breaks DeepMind's promise that the personal data acquired by Streams acquired would not be used by Google. CNBC reported that DeepMind's independent review board will now likely to be scrapped as the company aims to expand the service beyond the UK.
DeepMind claims that the support of Google will help turn the app into an AI-powered assistant for all nurses and doctors that combines the best algorithms with intuitive design.