After a long day treating patients in corona isolation wards, the last thing doctors want to do is catch up on professional literature. And even if they did, they couldn’t – medical papers on the global pandemic are sprouting at an astonishing rate.
This is where Kahun, an Israeli digital health startup, steps in. It started operating in 2018, long before phrases like “social distancing” and “flattening the curve” became part of our daily lives. But once the coronavirus crisis emerged it shifted its focus.
Kahun analyzes medical data found in some 30 million articles in databases accessed by research engines such as PUMBED.
Its algorithms and AI capabilities search for ties between symptoms and possible diagnoses, for example, or insights from blood test results. Then the info is structured into a machine-readable “knowledge graph” complete with links to the relevant data sources.
“You have all the busy doctors who don’t always have the time to search and learn,” explains Kahun CEO and cofounder Eitan Ron. “We’re giving them a tool that makes life easier for them when they come to search for this information.”
While the general public can also use the website, it offers two types of tools to healthcare workers.
“One option is to simply search for findings and their link to coronavirus,” Ron explains. Doctors can enter “cough” or “fever,” for example, into the free search box, and immediately see a graph that shows what the literature has to say about it.
Another option is to narrow down the search to specific information regarding diagnostics, pre-existing conditions, possible complications or lab results. For example, doctors can choose from a wide array of blood test findings and learn more about their connection to the virus.
“We’ll present all the articles and the ways in which the particular finding is connected to corona, whether there’s a direct link or an indirect one,” Ron says. “We’re giving them immediate, visual access to knowledge.”
Ron emphasizes that Kahun does not invent data. The technology is for constructing the knowledge graphs and “using tools from the world of AI that allow us to create insights from this data in real time.”
Thousands of people from around the world have used Kahun’s website since it was launched a few weeks ago. “We’re busy improving it and making it more useful,” Ron concludes.