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Babylon Chatbot

Babylon can interpret symptoms and medical questions through an AI-powered interface, then connect the user to the most appropriate service.


It uses natural language processing to recognize many healthcare issues seen in primary care, and then provide information about them.

We focus on building and training our AI to help patients understand their health and symptoms, so that they can make informed decisions about when to seek medical care.

Babylon’s deep neural network, created from many millions of data samples collected and input by our scientists and doctors, works behind the scenes to provide patients with the information they need.

This means patients can make better use of their appointment time, and clinicians can efficiently focus on their assessment and treatment.  

Babylon’s artificial intelligence (“AI”) platform uses a probabilistic graphical model and natural language processing to interpret symptoms and medical questions through an AI-powered chatbot interface. This “Symptom Checker” provides information about possible conditions based on how closely conditions match the self-reported symptoms and risk factors and, if available, information contained in personal health records. This information can be used to facilitate connections with appropriate health services through other functionalities of Babylon’s platform (e.g., booking and tracking appointments, consulting with a telemedicine provider, viewing and updating personal health records, managing prescriptions, self-monitoring health and wellness, and integrating with wearable products). The information provided by Symptom Checker is derived from clinical epidemiology literature, medical research, public health databases, and expert clinical input, and it is validated by in-house pre-clinical studies. Importantly, however, the information provided by Symptom Checker is not intended to be used as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations.

Symptom Checker is being made available in the U.S. based on guidance issued by the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) regarding FDA’s intention to exercise enforcement discretion (meaning it will not enforce requirements under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act) over certain mobile medical applications. In its Mobile Medical Applications Guidance, FDA elaborated on the types of low-risk functionalities of mobile medical applications suitable for enforcement discretion. FDA stated that it intends to exercise enforcement discretion over mobile medical applications that:

  • use a checklist of common signs and symptoms to provide a list of possible medical conditions and advice on when to consult a health care provider;
  • guide a user through a questionnaire of signs and symptoms to provide a recommendation for the type of health care facility most appropriate to their needs;
  • provide patients with simple tools to organize and track their health information;  
  • provide easy access to information related to patients’ health conditions or treatments;
  • are specifically marketed to help patients document, show, or communicate to providers
  • potential medical conditions; or
  • enable individuals to interact with personal or electronic health record systems.1

These functionalities embody the essential capabilities of Symptom Checker, which should therefore be subject to FDA’s enforcement discretion. Nevertheless, Babylon closely monitors FDA’s evolving guidance in this area and is prepared to pursue a formal regulatory pathway for Symptom Checker should FDA change its position.2 Because of its established track record of developing, testing, validating, and maintaining clinical software products, Babylon is well-positioned to swiftly respond to new developments in FDA’s oversight of digital health software products.

  1. FDA, Mobile Medical Applications: Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff (Feb. 9, 2015)
  2. Babylon’s commitment to ensuring its U.S. offerings are consistent with FDA standards is underscored by its application for FDA’s Digital Health Software Precertification Pilot Program. Although Babylon was not selected for the Pilot Program, it continues to closely monitor developments in the Pilot Program, so that it will be positioned to pursue this pathway, if appropriate, when open to the public.