Nuance Communications, the Boston-based maker of various conversational artificial intelligence tools for healthcare, announced yesterday that it has acquired Saykara, a Seattle startup that specializes in mobile AI clinical documentation. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Saykara's lead product is an AI assistant named Kara. During an in-person or virtual visit, doctors can use Kara to listen in real time and create clinical notes, fill orders or queue up a patient referral. The iOS tool can integrate with several major EHR systems, and uses a human reviewer to double-check any information that is being added to the patient's EHR.
Saykara was founded in 2015 by Harjinder Sandhu, who had previously cofounded patient engagement platform Twistle and medical transcription company MedRemote (which was also acquired by Nuance back in 2005).
WHAT'S THE IMPACT?
Saykara's technology falls right in line with the rest of Nuance's healthcare offerings, which are led by similar automated transcription services. It's also a natural landing point for its staff. Sandhu previously spent roughly half a decade as an executive within Nuance's R&D team and will be returning to that part of the organization, with his fleet of engineers and machine learning experts in tow, according to the announcement.
"The complementary technology built by the Saykara team aligns strongly with our technology portfolio and growth strategy as well as the needs of our clients," Joe Petro, EVP and CTO at Nuance, said in a statement
"This acquisition welcomes some familiar and highly respected technology leaders whom I am excited to have join our research and development team, which consists of the best and brightest minds in applying AI and machine learning to healthcare. With a shared vision, we will continue our aggressive focus on innovation, growth, and on delivering industry-leading AI-powered solutions that meaningfully address the compelling business problems that our healthcare clients and their clinicians face every day."
THE LARGER TREND
Clinical documentation has long been a headache for time-constrained clinicians, and healthcare provider organizations are increasingly turning to new AI technologies to lighten the load.
Suki, for instance, resembles Saykara's approach of a mobile app focused on speech dictation and EHR integration. Alternatively, Augmedix gives live scribes a place in the room via Google Glass or a smartphone app, while Sopris Health has practitioners review their clinical notes through a chat-like interface that quickly and intelligently constructs documentation.
ON THE RECORD
"I welcome the opportunity to rejoin the market leader in conversational AI and ambient clinical intelligence, and the impressive Nuance research and development team – especially at this important juncture in the development and adoption of these AI-powered healthcare innovations," Sandhu said in a statement.
"We are very familiar with Nuance's advanced technology, domain expertise, and world-class technical team and share the company's mission to make what matters to alleviate the clinical documentation burden on clinicians around the world."