Published on July 11, 2018

Artificial intelligence for medicine

Based in Amiens, the start-up Posos uses artificial intelligence to deliver immediate information about medicines. It is one of 15 winners of the French IOT contest, the innovation support programme set up by La Poste. Meet one of the founders of Posos, Emmanuel Bilbault.

What does your start-up offer?

Emmanuel Bilbault: Posos is the shortened form of posologie [dosage] and SOS. It is a tool that provides an almost immediate response to people who have a question about a medicine. Its use of artificial intelligence makes it possible to recognise questions asked in natural language and to answer them in a few seconds thanks to official and recognised sources. For the moment, our volunteer testers include health professionals, physicians and pharmacists. Ultimately, we also hope to reach the general public.

How did you come up with this idea?

Emmanuel Bilbault: I am a pharmacist and for 10 years I have held various positions within the pharmaceutical industry, in particular medical information manager for a large laboratory.  During these years, I noticed that it was laborious to obtain all the information required regarding the prescription, dispensing or use of a medicine. It was impossible for a health professional to completely master the use of all these treatments as there are no less than 11,287 medicines in France (source Groupement pour l’élaboration et la réalisation de statistiques - GERS)! Yet physicians and pharmacists are required to ask questions on a daily basis about the medicines. For example: "Can we prescribe this medicine to a child aged four years?", "What is the therapeutic alternative to such a medicine that is out-of-stock?", "Are these two medicines compatible?”. It is therefore crucial to be able to immediately find the correct information among thousands of existing documents. 

How did you establish your start-up?

Emmanuel Bilbault: I was still in my previous position when I set up the project last year. I spoke about it a lot with people around me. Just six months ago, I was alone and now there are 12 people in the team. It was while competing in the data challenge of the Ecole normale supérieure, in which Posos was selected, that I said to myself that the idea really needed to be developed. Posos then won the French Tech grant. This initiative of the Banque publique d’investissement (BPI) makes it possible to support projects that create innovative businesses with high growth potential.

How did you hear about the French IOT contest?

Emmanuel Bilbault: It was the Hauts-de-France Regional development and innovation agency (ARDI) that spoke to us about the contest. When I saw that it was organised by La Poste, I immediately made the link with the carnet de santé connecté [connected health records] that it presented at the start of 2018. There is real coherence between Posos and what La Poste is proposing. Combing our tool with the connected health records would make it possible to give a personalised response to patients, according to their age, weight, current treatment and conditions.

What are the next steps?

Emmanuel Bilbault: With French IOT, we will be present at the Consumer electronics show, the trade fair for start-ups in Las Vegas, in January 2019. It is a great opportunity for Posos to establish contact with large French and international groups. This summer, we will meet the other winning start-ups and prepare ourselves at a boot camp.

An experimental system at the Amiens CHU [university hospital]

In its experimental phase, Posos has been made available to hospital departments since June 2018 in the form of a web platform available on computers, tablets and smartphones. The tool's added value will in particular be evaluated in the following departments: pharmacy, emergencies, intensive care, geriatric unit, neurosurgery, nephrology and internal medicine.



listed in France

8 billion

applications on the Internet a year

worldwide for medicines