As more physicians are taking their practices online, software companies have also had to adjust their services. One example: Saykara, a startup developing an AI voice assistant to automatically fill health records, had to shift its platform to Zoom. In early March, Saykara celebrated a milestone when its AI voice assistant was able to operate autonomously, meaning for some specialties, it could automatically update patient records and notes without any clicks or voice commands. But a few weeks later, the Seattle-based startup had to quickly adjust to a new world where most appointments are being conducted online. "Things were growing every day until we had the hiccup of Covid thrown in there," said Dr. Graham Hughes, president and COO of Saykara.
The name of the company is Saykara, and it appears to be tackling a very interesting problem: The use of artificial intelligence in healthcare. We stumbled across Saykara in a SEC filing today, which noted that the company has secured 2.5 million in venture funding. In an email to GeekWire, CEO Harjinder Sandhu confirmed the funding amount, and noted that Madrona Venture Group is the primary investor. "We are a healthcare startup looking to leverage machine intelligence to reshape the way physicians interact with medical systems," Sandhu said via email. He said the company is in the early-stages of development, and was choosing to stay in "stealth mode."
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. 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.
While voice-based digital assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri and Google Assistant are becoming increasingly common at home – and smartphones and wearables can be used handsfree via speech – the use of voice in the workplace is just getting started. That's likely to change in 2020 and beyond. More efficient employees, "smarter" voice-based assistants, easier ways of completing routine tasks and a digital experience in the office that matches what's used at home. A survey by 451 Research in 2019 indicated that voice UIs and digital assistants are among the most disruptive technologies for enterprises (IoT and AI are the top two), with four in 10 respondents planning to adopt voice technology within 24 months. "I expect 2020 will be the year when voice user interfaces will become prevalent in the workplace," said Raúl Castañón-Martínez, a senior analyst at 451 Research.