The world faces a severe health challenge. 4 billion people, more than half the global population, lack access to essential healthcare services. This challenge is exacerbated by rising urbanization requiring scalable prevention techniques to offset strains on already overburdened health systems. Digital health can form part of the sustainable cities solution.
45% of countries report less than 1 physician per 1,000 people, producing a massive shortage of more than 13 million health workers. This treatment gap is largely attributed to geographic and financial barriers, yet even in cities around the world, where medical resources tend to be concentrated, people are not receiving the care they need. Population growth and migration to urban areas is projected to add 2.5 billion to the world’s cities by 2050, 90% of which will occur in Asia and Africa, dramatically altering the condition landscape. The high demand for affordable, effective, and quality health services is not met by traditional healthcare models. We are urged to think about new, innovative ways to improve care delivery.Founded in 2011 in Germany, Ada was originally developed for doctors by doctors to advance patient symptom reporting. Our doctors and artificial intelligence (AI) experts spent seven years developing a sophisticated medical reasoning engine. Ada’s AI encompasses the complex constellation of connections between the currently known 12,000 symptoms and 10,000 conditions that can affect the human body. Ada now helps individuals understand and manage their health through personalized symptom assessments to recommend next steps and share these results with their healthcare professional. A simple interface and friendly chatbot guides people through a series of questions responsive to their symptoms, region, and unique medical profile to generate a list of possible conditions. Ada speaks 5 languages, and has more than 5 million users worldwide who have completed over 9 million symptom assessments.
Thanks to rising smartphone penetration, more people than ever can use AI for pre-assessment, triage, decision-making, and care navigation, reducing patient dependency on medical resources and streamlining protocol for health workers of all kinds. In a 2018 NHS study of 500 patients and 20 doctors, 97% found Ada easy to use, 83% would recommend, and 15% reported they would not have visited a clinic if they had conducted an Ada symptom assessment in advance. Ada works directly with local public and private partners to tailor our technology to the special needs of populations and their respective key health workforce for sustaining impact. Aggregate patient data facilitates real-time outbreak control and informs on health trends to support targeted interventions, strengthening the care continuum from patient to policymaker. We strive for a world where every person has access to quality healthcare.