Can a selfie help predict your health risks? The app helps people to answer that question by applying artificial intelligence (AI) to health records provided by users.

SwissCognitiveThe company has attracted millions of dollars from strategic investors and uses novel techniques to engage customers.

The platform uses AI to help people enroll in clinical trials, determine the healthiest places they have lived and eventually see what their genetic data can tell them about health and longevity. The startup has a major deal with Anthem, Inc. the nation’s second-largest health insurer, operating Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in 14 states. Together they are working with Harvard to enable consumer participation in studies best suited to their personal profiles.

Founder and CEO Walter De Brouwer is one of Silicon Valley’s new breed of data entrepreneurs whose goal is to engage consumers about understanding their health information. At a time when technology giants are expanding their reach into data mining by partnering with providers of electronic medical records (EMRs), some start-ups are using a different approach. These young companies are focusing on empowering individuals and are catching the attention of the insurance industry.

The AI health data mining market is expected to exceed $6 billion by 2021 and has been dominated by large companies along with some notable failures. It was recently reported that Amazon will sell software to hospitals and health systems to mine patient data so they can improve treatments and cut costs. Google Health was shuttered when its personal online records failed to attract users but the company is jumping back into the waters with its Google Cloud Healthcare Service geared towards big clients.

The health insurance industry is helping driving adoption of AI, a market growing 35% annually according to Accenture. Insurers have long used sophisticated analytical methods to manage costs, and now are turning to AI to help stay close to patients. UnitedHealth Group’s Optum is an investor in Buoy Health, a company started out of Harvard’s Innovation Lab and offers patients an AI-powered digital health assistant.[…]

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