Unlike typical health symptom checkers, the Buoy tool is interactive and it’s personal. A user enters symptoms; Buoy asks questions, waits for that person’s responses in real time, and then provides a personalized analysis and recommends how to best treat the symptoms and possible care options.
“Buoy is an educational and informational tool. It’s not meant as a substitute for professional medical advice. It’s meant to connect people more quickly with the right medical care at the right time,” said Mike Anderes, chief innovation and digital officer for Froedtert Health, and president of Inception Health. “With the wealth of health information available on the Internet, we want people to have the most credible and helpful tools available.”
Buoy was created by a team of doctors and computer scientists. Working closely with Harvard’s Innovation Laboratory, the team mapped out different symptoms and how people describe them in searches to create the tool.
“Buoy’s algorithm really listens and then recalculates your inputs in real time. This helps serve up questions that will more quickly and more accurately identify what’s wrong, so you can get on the right path to getting better,” said Andrew Le, CEO and co-founder of Buoy. Because Buoy utilizes artificial intelligence, it will improve as more people use it. Its style of interview questions is derived from research on patient-computer dialogue spanning 50 years.
Buoy is the latest service Froedtert & MCW health network has introduced with the goal of improving an individual’s ability to navigate health care on their terms and be guided to the most appropriate care. The health network’s innovation accelerator, Inception Health, researched a host of tools and selected the Buoy for its clinical evidence and personal, intuitive user experience.