Augmedix, a startup that uses natural language processing (NLP) and devices to populate medical documentation from clinician-patient conversations, has raised $19 million in Series B funding. Redmile Group, McKesson Ventures, DCM Ventures, Wanxiang Healthcare Investments and other unnamed investors all contributed.
WHAT THEY DO
Founded in 2012, the startup made a name for itself by outfitting doctors with Google Glass devices. Through these, professional medical scribes could remotely observe the visit and, with the help of NLP, fill out the patient’s necessary documentation. This approach allows the clinician to remained focused on engaging their patient, only needing to sign off on or make minor adjustments to the documentation at the end of the visit.
Since its last $23 million raise back in late 2016, Augmedix still provides customers with a device — either a Google Glass or smartphone — to support its real-time service. However, the company now boasts partnerships with 15 major health systems including Sutter Health, CommonSpirit Health and US Oncology, according to the funding announcement.
"Our service is differentiated because it operates in real-time and is enabled by natural conversation, not burdensome single-party dictation,” Manny Krakaris, CEO at Augmedix, said in a statement. “The combination of our proprietary technology and expert teams reliably delivers the highest quality medical notes thus relieving clinicians of that burden. We will continue to be at the forefront of medical documentation services by investing heavily in technology that will enable us to efficiently deliver additional services and features to our health system customers.”
WHAT IT’S FOR
Augmedix said the raise will support product developments such as automation, as well as the scaling of its service to systems and clinics across the country.
With clinician burnout as an ever-growing threat, there are several startups that are using technology to streamline medical documentation or other time-consuming tasks.
Sopris Health has an AI tool that listens to the doctor-patient interaction, and then asks a few simple yes-no questions to the clinician afterward to compose and import a clinical note. Meanwhile IKS Health’s virtual scribe product was employed by the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, with the group saying last year that it saved some doctors over two hours per clinical session. Others include digital assistant Suki, virtual scribe Saykara and wearable-focused Notable.
ON THE RECORD
"We have strong confidence in the Augmedix team's ability to execute on its goal of reducing physician burnout and significantly improving their quality of life," Tom Rodgers, SVP and managing director at McKesson Ventures, said in a statement. "Augmedix is uniquely positioned to leverage trained medical documentation experts, increasingly enabled by artificial intelligence, to deliver a consumer-grade experience for the clinician that results in more accurate and timely documentation in the most cost-effective manner possible."