Israeli Medtech Startup Kahun Harnesses AI to Provide Doctors With Real-Time Covid-19 Data
Kahun’s new tool offers quick and easy access to information from thousands of published medical studies on the disease, using an algorithm that mimics the diagnosis process of physicians
Though coronavirus (Covid-19) has only been in our lives for a few months, according to online medical library PubMed more than 2,500 research papers have already been published on the virus, more than any time-pressed physician can hope to catch up on between caring for patients and worrying about protecting themselves and their families. Enter Kahun Ltd., an Israel-based medtech startup that harnesses artificial intelligence technologies to scan vast amounts of data from published peer-reviewed studies and offer it in the form of easy to use knowledge graphs.
Last week, Kahun launched a free artificial intelligence tool that gives doctors access to the most recent information from medical research on coronavirus, in order to help them come to a quick diagnosis.
Journal-published medical studies are the bread and butter of physicians, Kahun co-founder Eitan Ron told CTech in an interview Tuesday. “What we do is give them a tool to make their searches more efficient, help them make decisions, and offer workup suggestions, all while providing a transparent path to the clinical reasoning behind the AI-produced graph,” Ron said.
According to Dr. Michal Tzuchman-Katz—another of Kahun’s co-founders and a practicing medical physician who helped design the algorithm—the knowledge graph is updated in real-time as more research related to coronavirus becomes available. The symptom correlation score and the graph are a reflection of how a physician thinks in the real world while treating patients, she wrote in a statement.
The Covid-19 outbreak caught Kahun in the middle of a pilot conducted in partnership with several Israeli hospitals to test its core application, with a focus on diagnosing internal medicine issues. The shift to coronavirus-related studies was the company’s attempt at joining the international medical community’s efforts to deal with the pandemic, Ron said.
“We witnessed an exponential growth in coronavirus related studies that nearly corresponded with the spread of the disease itself, from several dozens in January to the thousands that are now out there,” Ron said. “We wanted to do our part in helping combat the spread of the pandemic by giving doctors a tool that can save them much needed time.”
Kahun’s Covid-19 website is open not just to doctors but to the public, as well, letting anyone enter symptoms and dive into a vast world of medical studies and statistics on symptom correlation with relatively easy to understand scores and links to the relevant literature.
Ron said that when the current crisis is over, Kahun’s team of 20 engineers, developers, researchers, and physicians will go back to working on their core product, which is making millions of published medical studies more accessible to doctors around the world. The company, which is named after the nearly 4,000-year-old Kahun Papyrus—the first known medical document in history, originating in ancient Egypt—aims to disrupt the medical research field by combining the age-old practice of trusted information-sharing with 21st century technology.