Chinese insurtech startup CareVoice launches voice-based virtual assistant

By Laura Lovett

This morning Shanghai-based insurtech company CareVoice launched what it claims is the first AI voice-based virtual health assistant for insurers and employers in Greater China. 

Insurance members can use the AI system to help triage their symptoms before going to see a doctor. The latest technology is integrated with the CareVoice platform and will let users check their symptoms, access self-care content and help guide users towards relevant medical specialities. Part of the idea is to help users avoid unnecessary consultations. 

The technology comes out of a partnership between CareVoice and San Francisco-based virtual care assistant Sensely. The US-based startup offers services to providers and payers. Sensely’s specializes in speech recognition technology, text to speech capabilities, a chatbot, data integration and images and videos.

“The CareVoice has a great mobile-based solution for insurers that is a perfect fit, allowing us to bring our Virtual Health Assistant to China’s fast growing private insurance market. In addition, we are glad to partner with a great team that possesses an international background and a deep understanding of the Chinese market,” Adam Odessky, CEO and cofounder of Sensely, said in a statement.

CareVoice has already made partnerships with some of the largest insurers in China.

“While our joint product team is completing the localization, we are very glad that we have already partnered with two insurers, AXA- TianPing and Ping An Health, to launch this consumer-centric innovation to the Chinese market, which will drive a better healthcare experience for their members,” Sebastien Gaudin, CEO and cofounder of CareVoice, said in a statement. “We can rely on Sensely’s leading technology and solid evidence in terms of both member satisfaction and payer cost savings in order to fuel our value proposition to insurers and employers.”

In January the company announced that it landed $2 million in funding led by Haitao Capital and SOSV. The Chinese startup plans to use the funding to further develop its mobile and SaaS platforms for insurance companies. It also wants to expand its footprint in private insurance markets and companies. 

The company was founded in 2013 under the name ‘KangYu,’ which means ‘health voice’ in Mandarin, according to its website. In addition to the latest technology, the company gives users lists of hospitals, doctors and treatments. It also lets user rate and review doctors and hospitals. The goal is to help consumers chose the best care for their needs. Recently the company has began to expand to Hong-Kong. 

Voice assistants have becoming increasingly popular in the healthcare space. In fact Amazon’s Alexa has now been paired with several apps that help patients triage their needs. For example, in September 2017 the Mayo Clinic launched a new platform for the Amazon Alexa, where the consumer can voice his or her concerns to receive answers to dozens of everyday health issues or other self care instructions.