Google DeepMind is giving three NHS trusts free access to a patient monitoring app known as Streams, which delivers push alerts to doctors and clinicians when their patients’ conditions suddenly deteriorate.
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust confirmed on Thursday that DeepMind — a London-based artificial intelligence startup acquired by Google in 2014 for £400 million — is letting it use Streams for free.
Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust have also been given free access to the app, raising questions about whether DeepMind is offering the app for free in order to get access to valuable patient records.
The financial details of DeepMind’s partnerships with the NHS have been a closely guarded secret for over a year. But the Royal Free disclosed the details last week following a freedom of information request from Business Insider. Imperial and Taunton and Somerset followed suit, saying they were on the same deal as Royal Free.
All three trusts have been given free access to Streams, unless DeepMind ends up providing them with over £15,000 in “support” in any given month. Support is likely to come in the form of cloud hosting and DeepMind staff costs.
DeepMind has made it clear that it plans to start charging the NHS higher fees after for Streams after it has proven the benefits of the app.
Dr Julia Powles, a legal academic who has co-authored published research on DeepMind’s work with the NHS told Business Insider that we shouldn’t allow “a private company patroned by Google to build networks of knowledge about health and disease in a way that will end up with long-term costs.”
DeepMind is working with a number of other NHS hospitals on different projects that don’t involve Streams. They include an eyecare project with Moorfields and a cancer detection project with University College London Hospital.
The commercial values of these deals have not been disclosed.