A common complaint about doctor’s visits is that patients feel rushed or that their doctor isn’t focused on them personally.
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One healthtech startup aims to help address those problems with a platform it claims gives clinicians more time to focus on their patients, rather than taking notes. That company, Augmedix, which describes itself as a medical note documentation startup, announced today it has raised $19 million in a Series B round to help it achieve its mission.
Redmile Group, McKesson Ventures, DCM Ventures, Wanxiang Healthcare Investments and others participated in the financing. The funding brings San Francisco-based Augmedix’s total raised since its inception in 2012 to $82 million, according to Crunchbase data.
Using augmented reality, the company turns natural clinician-patient conversation into medical documentation in real time. The Augmedix platform is powered by a combination of proprietary natural-language-processing technology and medical documentation “expert teams,” according to the company.
Augmedix provides clinicians with hardware, smartphones or Google Glass, “to securely stream the clinic visit” to its cloud-based platform. Then, tech-enabled remote specialists use proprietary automation modules to generate medical documentation that Augmedix claims “is accurate, comprehensive and timely delivered.” The service currently works with over 25 specialties and supports most electronic health records (EHRs).
Augmedix has partnered with 15 health systems (including Sutter Health, CommonSpirit Health, and US Oncology) with the goal of decreasing clinician burnout while increasing productivity. Those systems employ well over 100,000 physicians, or about 10 percent of the U.S. total in aggregate, according to the company.
Manny Krakaris, CEO at Augmedix, said the startup is “addressing the serious and growing problem of doctor burnout.”
And, he said, it’s doing it differently than its competitors because the note taking is performed in real time. The benefits of this, according to Krakaris, are that a physician feels that his/her documentation specialist is an “extension of the care team.” The specialist observes what is taking place (both visually and audibly) “in a completely passive manner,” he added.
“That allows the doctor to have a completely normal interaction with the patient, which translates into a higher level of patient care and higher patient satisfaction,” Krakaris said. Also, “it yields the greatest time savings for them (up to three hours each day), which they can bank into quality of life enhancement or convert into increased patient volume.”
The company said it will use the new capital “to accelerate product development, including automation capabilities, and to strategically scale its technology-enabled service across health systems and private clinics nationwide.”
Looking ahead, Krakaris told Crunchbase News the company is specifically working to “further improve operating efficiency” with tools that will use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning “to harness the vast amounts of audio and text data we generate each week.” It currently employs just over 400 people worldwide as well as enlisting the services of about 800 contractors.
Augmedix has seen its compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) “comfortably exceed 50 percent” since 2015, when it launched its commercial service “in earnest,” the CEO added.
I asked if the company was HIPAA compliant and it told me that its entire system satisfies HIPAA data security standards.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias