New York-based K Health has developed an app that uses AI and anonymized health records to augment the diagnoses of health problems. It was founded in 2016 and claims to be the first startup to use true AI in consumer health at the primary care level, as our Holden Page wrote at the time of the startup’s $12.5 million Series A.
As part of the latest funding round, Alex Zubillaga, managing partner and founder of 14W, has joined the board. Comcast’s Shawn Leavitt has joined as an observer as Comcast works to “provide better care” to its employees.
K Health works by leveraging AI-driven health data that was accumulated over two decades by tracking 2 billion anonymized health events. (That data was collected by Maccabi, the second largest HMO in Israel.) K has taken that data to create a predictive model aimed at enabling people to learn more about their health by comparing themselves to other people with similar characteristics such as gender, age, symptoms, and medical history. Since July, the startup has built an audience of 500,000 users with about 15,000 people using the app on a daily basis, according to CEO Allon Bloch.
“The problem with Dr. Google and WebMD is that they have no understanding of you, no concept of learning who you are, and their findings are not based on evidence-based medicine,” he told Crunchbase News. “We’ve been living with this since the beginning of the internet. It’s been perfectly OK to scare people about their medical conditions.”
With K Health, people get a more reliable and accurate way to have an initial understanding of what they might have in addition to what drugs other people with a similar history took, Bloch explained.
“We ask 21 questions that on average take a patient 3 to 4 minutes to answer,” he told Crunchbase News. “We try to mimic the same process that a doc does when a patient goes in for a visit, and also learn people over time…. It’s a powerful thing we’re building. Nobody else that we know of has put AI into primary care.”
Bloch said the startup will use the latest capital infusion to take its offering a step further. In early 2019, K Health plans to launch in-app remote care so that consumers can “get faster and better care at a fraction of the cost of visiting a doctor today.”
K Health has partnered with about 40 providers in New York with whom people can make a physical appointment with via the app or even get treated remotely.
“We’re scaling that out across most of the US early next year and a lot of our capital will be focused on providing accurate remote care,” he said. “We’re making people rethink how healthcare should work by giving people the ability to use software that is intelligent enough to learn you over time and then press a button to get a doctor to review your issues at any time. This is where personalized health will happen at the primary care level.”
Dr. Edo Paz, clinical director at Heartbeat Health, has been working for K Health for about 18 months. He started as a physician advisor and was impressed with their accuracy and diagnoses.
“These days, the barriers to seeking care are pretty high so this gives people a free and accurate way to see what other people like them have been diagnosed with,” he told Crunchbase News. “This also helps doctors from a documentation perspective because they have written record of a patient’s’ symptoms.”
Dr. Paz is also impressed with the startup’s “unique” vast dataset and the app’s ability to only get “smarter over time.”
“The doctors can have a closed loop with the app,” he said. “They can verify a diagnosis and patients can provide feedback in it, so that the app can only get better evaluating patients.”