Google’s DeepMind to peek at NHS eye scans for disease analysis

Machine learning will scour the images for signs of diseases such as macular degeneration and diabetes-related sight loss. Moorfields is teaming up with Google’s DeepMind during the scheme. Previously, DeepMind faced criticism over a little-known data sharing agreement with three London hospitals.
An agreement to share patient data from the Royal Free, Barnet and Chase Farm hospitals over the past five years and continuing until 2017 was revealed by the New Scientist in May. In that case, Google said it was analysing kidney data in the hope of developing an app for medical staff.
The app, called Streams, would notify doctors should someone be at risk of developing acute kidney injury (AKI). Announcing the latest venture with Moorfields, Google has cited the support of the Royal National Institute of Blind people (RNIB) and sight charities such as the Macular Society.
"How it plays out over time remains to be seen," Sam Smith, a co-ordinator at patient data campaign group MedConfidential, told the BBC. "But you do have organisations involved that aren’t principally concerned with DeepMind – they care about blindness in the case of RNIB and long term medical research in the case of the National Institute for Health Research."