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Prudential partners Babylon Health to help clients manage their health

BABYLON Health is the first AI-enabled health service offered by an insurer across Asia that enables users to assess their current and future health needs, according to Prudential.

In August, Prudential signed a partnership agreement with the health technology startup to exclusively tap its AI-powered software across 12 countries in Asia. It had announced that the technology would be made available to existing and new customers, but it could not share to whom and when Babylon would be offered to, as launch plans were "still being worked out".

According to a Forbes article which cited sources close to the deal, Prudential is paying approximately US$100 million over the course of "several years" to use Babylon's software, "one of the most sophisticated AI-powered platforms in the world".

The software will include a chatbot, an AI-powered simulation feature and broader health assessment. The tools will offer users round-the-clock, real-time information about their health conditions.

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Preventive healthcare

The company believes the deal will aid its step towards providing preventive healthcare, in addition to protection for customers.

Kalai Natarajan, head of Strategic Engagements at Prudential Singapore, said: "We want to deliver to our customers technologies and services that will help them manage their health better, so they have the best shot at longer and better lives."

How does Babylon's AI work?

The technology is largely driven by machine-learning.

An inference engine, comprising a set of machine-learning systems capable of reasoning through billions of combinations of symptoms, diseases and risk factors per second, identifies conditions which may match information in Babylon's knowledge base.

The knowledge base captures the meaning behind medical terminology across different medical systems and different languages. Particular patient cases, information learnt through Babylon's own users and feedback from the firm's in-house experts, are also stored.

Finally, natural language processing is used to help Babylon's AI bot interpret, understand and use everyday human language and language patterns. The bot can also transcribe consultations, summarise clinical records and chat with users.

For now in Singapore, Prudential said Babylon Health will provide a health-risk assessment, symptom checker and a pre-diagnosis tool to help users be well informed about their health situation and illnesses if any, so that they are then better equipped to manage their health.