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Google set to launch its first medical device

Google yesterday unveiled an artificial intelligence-powered dermatology assist tool designed to identify dermatologic issues.

In a news release, the technology giant cited billions of yearly Google searches related skin, nail and hair issues as a reason for developing the technology. The company plans to launch the web-based application as a pilot later on this year in an effort to help users figure out what might be going on with their skin in an easier fashion.

For users, once they launch the app, they use the phone’s camera to take three images of the skin, hair or nail concern from different angles before being asked questions about skin type, how long the issue has persisted and other symptoms that would help the app narrow down possibilities.

Once the images and information is collected, the AI model analyzes the information given and draws from its knowledge of 288 conditions to provide a list of potential matching conditions that can then be researched further by the user. Each matching condition will be accompanied by dermatologist-reviewed information and answers to frequently asked questions, as well as similar images from the internet.

Google said the tool is not intended to provide a diagnosis and it is not a substitute for medical advice, but rather it offers access to authoritative, reviewed information that can help users make a more informed decision about the next steps to take.

The company has multiple published studies and papers highlighting its AI-based approach to assessing skin diseases and has factored in age, sex, race and skin types to make sure the technology can provide assistance for as many people as possible.

Google noted that it received CE mark approval as a Class I medical device in Europe and plans to build on the platform so more people can use the tool to address their skin issues.


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