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.
Artificial intelligence has been around for half a century, but it has only recently become a real player in the healthcare space. Harjinder Sandhu, the CEO and founder of SayKara, says that's all down to data. "The data never really existed" for AI to take off, Sandhu said on a panel about AI and the future of healthcare at the 2018 GeekWire Summit. "In healthcare specifically, if you look back 20 years, virtually every medical record was on paper." Sandhu was joined on stage by Michael Calhoun, CEO and co-founder of medical imaging analysis company Mindshare Medical, and Anisha Sood, a partner at Echo Health Ventures.