Population Services International (PSI) announced the launch of a new digital health service in Vietnam to help people in low-income communities make informed decisions about their health and efficiently navigate the healthcare system. Through a partnership with Babylon (NYSE: BBLN), communities in the Bac Ninh province and the Hanoi Capital City – which have a combined population of 9.4 million – will have free 24/7 access to a new platform, called AI OI, that combines Babylon’s AI Symptom Checker with PSI’s Health Provider Locator tool.
In low-income communities around the world, taking time to visit a medical facility means out-of-pocket expenses as well as loss of income that create financial barriers to care. PSI research shows most low income people put off going to a health facility due to the amount of time needed off work – and resulting loss of income – and high out of pocket fees that often don’t match their particular health issue. In addition, women in particular experience stigma from health providers on sensitive health topics such as menstruation, and sexual and reproductive health.
AI OI aims to shift this model by providing consumers more control over their health journeys in a private, stigma-free environment from their mobile devices. After taking an AI-powered self-assessment with AI OI, an individual is signposted to local health facilities in their area that can provide follow-on services. The platform is designed to work across both public and private healthcare systems to increase access to targeted care. Our future plan is to build out the service through partnerships with Telehealth providers, ePharmacists and home delivery services, and health information portals and chatbots.
“PSI has worked closely with Vietnam's healthcare systems over the last 17 years. Our deep global expertise in social behavior change and implementing pathbreaking, consumer-centric technology, uniquely position us to deliver this service,” said Karl Hofmann, President and CEO of Population Services International. “We're thrilled to partner with Babylon and demonstrate how innovative digital technology can extend the capacity and reach of under-resourced healthcare systems – something we urgently need if we're to achieve ambitious universal health coverage targets.”
The AI OI platform leverages Babylon’s existing advanced AI technology, which has already been fully localized for 11 territories in Southeast Asia by a team of AI clinicians based on the ground to ensure accuracy, safety and cultural appropriateness.
“We are thrilled to be working with PSI, one of the most innovative non-profit organizations, to support people to more effectively manage their health,” said Dr Ali Parsa, Chief Executive Officer of Babylon. “PSI and Babylon share a similar vision for the future of healthcare, and we look forward to now sharing our technology to make quality healthcare accessible and affordable for those most in need.”
The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation awarded PSI a grant to design and deploy AI OI in November 2021 as a part of its strategy to build capacity to use data, digital tools and artificial intelligence to design people-centered, accessible health systems.
“This partnership represents the transformative opportunity that comes from combining technological possibility and visionary social changemakers,” said Vilas Dhar, president of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation. “We’re excited to explore how these new AI and digitally-enabled approaches can center dignity, autonomy and empathy in healthcare.”
The AI OI service launched in Bac Ninh and Hanoi on 23 September, and roll-out of the service will take place over the coming months. PSI is leading a demand generation and awareness campaign based on user insights to build trust and confidence in digital health tools and encourage use of the service over the coming months.
PSI and Babylon aim to grow the reach of this service to additional parts of Vietnam in 2023 as well as expand their partnership to other countries in the future on their mission of making high-quality health services that are affordable and accessible.
About Population Services International
Founded 50 years ago, Population Services International (PSI) is a global nonprofit that encourages healthy behaviors and delivers affordable healthcare for individuals to live healthier lives. PSI brings innovation to scale through our presence in 50 countries, our vast network of clinics and community-based healthcare delivery.
In Vietnam, PSI has a 15+ year track record in developing and implementing successful social and behavior change communication campaigns. These are built around insights into what matters most to underserved consumers, and position healthier behaviors in terms that resonate with target audiences. With the goal of strengthening the national health system, PSI Vietnam’s interventions focus on building the private sector’s capacity and providing quality, affordable health products and services. PSI has established a sustainable network of over 5,914 private clinics and pharmacies throughout the country, which serves as a cost-efficient channel for expanding access to quality and affordable integrated health services among underserved community members.
At Babylon, our mission is to make quality healthcare accessible and affordable for every person on Earth. To this end we are building an integrated digital first primary care service that can manage population health at scale.
Founded in 2013, we are reengineering how people engage with their care at every step of the healthcare continuum. By flipping the model from reactive sick care to proactive healthcare through the devices people already own, we offer millions of people globally, ongoing, always-on care. And, we have already shown that in environments as diverse as the developed UK or developing Rwanda, urban New York, or rural Missouri, for people of all ages, it is possible to achieve our mission by leveraging our highly scalable, digital-first platform combined with high quality, virtual clinical operations to provide integrated, personalized healthcare.
Today, we support a global patient network across 15 countries, and operate in 16 languages. In 2021 alone, Babylon helped a patient every 6 seconds, with approximately 5.2 million consultations and AI interactions. Importantly, this was achieved with a 93% user retention rate in our NHS GP at Hand service and 4 or 5-star ratings from more than 90% of our users across all of our geographies. We are working to demonstrate how our model of digital first integrated primary care can be applied to manage the health of the population in different settings across Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial value based care contracts in the US and our primary care services in the UK.
Babylon is also working with governments, health providers, employers, and insurers across the globe to provide them with a new digital-first platform that any partner can use to deliver high-quality healthcare with lower costs and better outcomes. For more information, please visit www.babylonhealth.com.