AI-powered doctor assistant Suki lands $20M in funding

By Laura Lovett
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Suki, a startup that makes an AI-powered and voice-enabled digital assistant for doctors, has just landed $20 million in a funding round led by Venrock, with participation from First Round, Social Capital, and Marc Benioff. 

The technology was developed to help doctors handle paperwork and update a patient's EHR. The technology is also designed to gradually personalize itself based on each individual doctor — in fact, the more time the platform spends with doctors, the more it learns about their needs. The digital assistant also can search and retrieve patient data and capture data over time. Part of its capabilities include updating and charting patients' EHRs. 

Suki's technology can listen in on the doctor’s conversation with a patient, and then come up with an action plan based on the knowledge it has collected about the doctor’s preferences and clinical practice guidelines. 

“Artificial intelligence is changing the world around us, and it’s about time that it does the same for health care,”  Punit Soni, CEO and cofounder of Suki, said in a statement. “Doctors are spending too much of their day focused on paperwork and not on patient care, leading to an alarming rate of doctor burnout. With Suki, we have created a solution that is personalized to each doctor, inexpensively scalable, and easy to implement to make the work day easier. It’s like having a chief resident in the exam room with you who knows how you practice.” 

The Redwood City, California-based startup was founded by former Google and Salesforce employees, and recently changed its name from Robin AI.

Its technology is being used in 12 active pilots in various specialities across California and Georgia. The company claims that Suki cuts down on the time doctors spend on medical notes by 60 percent. 

“Suki and the artificial intelligence it brings to the [EHR] will dramatically improve a physician’s ability to spend more time with the patient and less time in front of a computer. Providers will enthusiastically embrace this leap forward in health care technology,” Dr. Michael Behr, medical director, OrthoAtlanta, and a participant in Suki’s pilot, said in a statement. 

Suki isn’t the only company using voice-enabled AI. Several companies have integrated with Amazon Alexa, including WebMD, which lets users ask the device health-related questions.