Meet ‘Symptom Checkers’ – Isabel and Babylon

People increasingly search the Internet regarding their health issues and a Google search may be the commonest in most instances. Even doctors ‘Google’ for a diagnosis [Ref].

Recently there has been a proliferation of more sophisticated programs called ‘symptom checkers‘ that attempt to more effectively provide a potential diagnosis for patients and direct them to the appropriate care setting. Many healthcare institutions provide symptom checkers such as  WebMD, Mayo Clinic,  HealthLine.


Isabel and Balylon are two different applications that use different programming techniques to provide people with their symptom evaluation.

Isabel uses the orthodox text-searching. Babylon uses a ‘Chatbot‘ – newer machine learning techniques that are part of AI. (You can even build a Chatbot to book a flight in under 7 minutes using IBM Watson!). However, you cannot build something like Isabel that easily. Its often debated what’s the best but the answer is it depends.

Isabel is also a tool that is used by medical experts when diagnoses are difficult and when one has to even think about rare diseases. Babylon does not offer this kind of professional facilities.

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