August 17, 2020

The alternative to Dr Google

It’s not only medics and the internet that can offer us medical guidance; smart apps are making a big difference to patients — and healthcare providers too.

Connor Bilboe

3 min read

Sponsored by

Samsung – The Next Wave
A father and daughter having a video call with their doctor

We’ve all been there: a scratchy throat, an odd rash or phantom pain. Where do you turn? In normal times, most people’s first instinct isn’t to book an appointment that might take weeks or cost a copayment. 

Instead, we turn to Dr Google. That was true before Covid-19 shut down our cities and made health clinics particularly undesirable places to spend the afternoon. Now, online research and self-assessment seem more useful than ever to avoid unnecessary trips to the clinic.

Unfortunately, finding an accurate self-assessment amid millions of search results of varying credibility can often cause more confusion and anxiety, not less.  


The expertise of medical professionals is irreplaceable, but what if an average person had a way to discern health information and get a reliable, accurate assessment from home? 

That’s the intention behind Daniel Nathrath and Claire Novorol’s Berlin-based healthcare company Ada. They believe that medical knowledge combined with intelligent technology can help patients and support healthcare professionals to deliver better care. 

The age of Dr Google

Many healthcare providers have begun to dread the words “I googled it.” With so much information circling the internet, self-assessments can often run the gamut from the common cold to deadly cancer.

When the worst-case scenario might be a terminal illness, it’s difficult for patients to assume the best. Meanwhile, severe conditions might be overlooked because the average person doesn’t know their significance. 

This unfiltered supply of information ultimately leads to patients feeling unnecessary anxiety and seeking treatment for the wrong reasons, placing an avoidable burden on our healthcare system. With that said, a tool to give patients an accurate assessment of their symptoms, that neither trivialises nor causes undue panic, would do the opposite — keep patients with low-risk symptoms at home while helping healthcare providers detect serious cases earlier than usual.

A health professional in your pocket

This is exactly what the Ada app hopes to do.

Ada asks the user simple questions and, using powerful reasoning technology, compares the answers against thousands of conditions, millions of associated symptom combinations and similar cases to determine the most likely causes of their symptoms. This is supported by a growing medical library — which is continuously kept up-to-date with the latest human medical knowledge and science. Since its launch in 2016, the app has performed 20 million assessments, and Ada is working with leading governments, healthcare systems and organisations to support the delivery of quality, effective care worldwide.

Ada is helping people take an active role in managing their health, and in the latest episode of Samsung’s video series ‘The Next Wave’ Nathrath and Novorol discuss how Ada's app can go beyond just improving care for individual patients to address inequity in healthcare around the world.

Watch to find out: 

  • The most common questions that Ada’s symptom assessment app gets asked 
  • How the Ada app actually works 
  • Who Ada is partnering with to help patients figure out how to manage their health 
  • How using digital health apps can reduce costs for healthcare providers
  • How Ada reacted to Covid-19 and could help identify disease hotspots 

Discover how Ada is leading a healthcare revolution here.