Augmedix gets $3.2 million to bring Google Glass to doctors

By Brian Dolan
08:40 am

AugmedixDoctor2San Francisco-based Augmedix, which has developed a Google Glass clinical documentation offering for physicians raised $3.2 million last week in a round led by DCM and Emergence Capital Partners. Other investors included Great Oaks Venture Capital, Rock Health's LPs (Kleiner Perkins, Mohr Davidow Ventures, and Aberdare), and various angels. Emergence had previously invested in Doximity and Welltok, while Great Oaks is also an investor in Healthtap.

Augmedix, founded in 2012, now has 36 employees. Its CEO and co-founder Ian Shakil told MobiHealthNews that Augmedix software is already deployed at "numerous different sites", including one "top five national health system".

"We are going after one of the biggest pain points in healthcare: The fact that doctors spend 30 or 40 or 50 percent of their day on the computer documenting the EHR -- toiling away -- pushing and pulling information," Shakil said. "They often do it right in front of the patient -- back turned -- and typing. Then when the patient leaves even more type, type, type -- feeding the beast." 

Shakil said Augmedix will help outpatient clinic doctors reclaim that clinical documentation time and improve their patients' overall experience by helping them have more time to care for patients.

"When doctors use Augmedix and Google Glass, they don't spend 30 or 40 or 50 percent of their day on this they spend about 1 percent of their day at the computer," Shakil said. "In the process we have re-humanized the doctor-patient interaction and it, actually, believe or not, yields better patient records in terms of clinical documentation quality."

While Shakil won't yet explain how Augmedix goes about automatically capturing information during a patient visit, he framed the experience of using Augmedix it from the physician's perspective.

"We can't go too terribly deep on this but I can unveil a few layers of this onion," he said. "It really boils down to the doctor wearing Google Glass, going into the clinic, interacting with the patient and having that humane, high touch conversation that they always wanted to have. At the end of the visit, all of the structured data, all of the EHR information, is in the EHR where it belongs. The way he wants it. Following a visit, doctors [go to their computer] and check that the information entered into their EHR doesn't need any edits and then click confirm."

Shakil said while pushing structured data to the EHR is Augmedix's core offering, it also helps doctor's call up information from a patient's record, too. The doctor might ask Glass to find the patient's last three blood pressure readings from their record and Glass will present them in the heads up display.

Of course, Augmedix users are not sending these requests via Google, Shakil's company has "carved out" much of the off-the-shelf features of Google Glass for when it is in "healthcare" mode. Its healthcare facility customers have also required it to offer various mobile device management features so that administrators can track, for example, where each and every Augmedix-powered Google Glass is in its facility.

"All the audiovisual stream capture is not going through Google’s infrastructure, it is going through HIPAA-compliant infrastructure that we have certified with our doctor customer groups," Shakil said.

Augmedix customers pay monthly subscriptions per physician in exchange for the modified Google Glass unit, Augmedix software, support, and the HIPAA-compliant infrastructure. Shakil says that Augmedix is, in effect, a reseller of Google Glass.

The patients who visit a clinic where physicians use Augmedix's offering are given information about the Google Glass units their doctor might wear during the visit. The front desk provides them with information about the security and privacy aspects of Augmedix and then are given the option to request that their doctor not use the device during their visit if they aren't comfortable.

"So far, Glass stays on 99 percent of the time -- at least," Shakil said. "And we have replicated this test with so many sites, including right here in San Francisco and in the middle of nowhere Texas. It goes well beyond Glass just staying on – patient satisfaction scores actually go. That's true for young and old patients as well as rural and urban areas."

In addition to better eye contact with their doctors and fewer visit where doctors are entering data on their computers with their backs to them, patients get more out of the Augmedix-enabled doctor visit.

"There is also the sense that your doctor is on the cutting edge and an early adopter of technology," Shakil said, "which even further improves those perceptions scores. I think those will fade away once people are more used to seeing Glass or hearing about it."


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