AI-powered primary care platform K Health raised another $25 million in a series B funding round two weeks ago. Founded in 2016 by former Wix CEO Allon Bloch, K Health boasts around 500,000 users. Earlier this year, the startup already partnered with about 40 healthcare providers in New York City to enable patients to book physical appointments and remote consultations, via the app.
Who were the investors and how much did the company raise, in total?
The recent funding round brings the total funding amount to $37.5M across four rounds. This round was led by 14W, Comcast Ventures and Mangrove Capital Partners, with additional participation from Lerer Hippeau, BoxGroup and Max Ventures. The previous round, of $12.5 million, was in July.
After this newly acquired capital was made public, Alex Zubillaga, an early investor in Spotify and the Managing Partner of 14W, joined the company’s board, along with Shawn Leavitt of Comcast, who will be an observer. Leavitt, who serves as SVP of Total Awards, is driving the charge at Comcast to create significantly better healthcare within the corporation’s employee base.
How will K health replace dr. Google?
Have you ever googled your symptoms, only to “find out” you supposedly had an obscure, terminal illness, when in fact food poisoning or a common cold were the things that really made you suffer? Self-diagnosing became a modern-day phenomenon, when Google searches became popular and ‘health’ forums multiplied. Each year, In America alone, more than one hundred million people research their symptoms online.
According to CEO Allon Bloch, quoted by Crunchbase News, “the problem with Dr. Google and WebMD is that they have no understanding of you, no concept of learning who you are, and their findings are not based on evidence-based medicine. We’ve been living with this since the beginning of the internet. It’s been perfectly OK to scare people about their medical conditions.”
K Health, through its AI-driven primary care app, is trying to put an end to self-diagnosing.
The app, which is available on both iOS and Android, allows users direct access to verified health information accumulated over the past 20 years from a vast dataset of 2B anonymized health events. The data is being collected by Maccabi, the second largest HMO in Israel.
What is K Health doing and how is it using AI to assist patients?
AI is used to interpret this data, which comes from hospitalizations, labs, doctor’s notes, drugs, and outcome data, to create a predictive model which helps provide accurate pre-diagnosing by allowing visitors to make a comparison between themselves and other similar individuals, with whom they share characteristics such as gender, age, medical history and very specific symptoms.
Users download the app to a smartphone, the answers questions about personal characteristics, health history, and symptoms, in a manner that is similar to the way they would answer a doctor’s questions in a regular appointment. The app then uses its machine learning capabilities to create a patient profile as close to the reality as possible.
CEO and Founder Allon Bloch, told Crunchbase News: “We ask 21 questions that on average take a patient 3 to 4 minutes to answer. We try to mimic the same process that a doc does when a patient goes in for a visit, and also learn people over time…. It’s a powerful thing we’re building. Nobody else that we know of has put AI into primary care.”
This does not mean the app is trying to substitute itself for physicians. Since it has partnered with about 40 providers in New York, K Health offers people the options of making a physical appointment via the app or remote treatment.
What will the new funds help advance?
In early 2019, K Health plans to launch in-app capabilities that allow users to share their AI-driven health conversations directly with physicians, thereby minimizing time invested in information-gathering while seamlessly generating more insightful health-related awareness, according to TechCrunch.
The new funding will be used to continue expanding and enhancing the platform’s features, benefiting both patients and doctors, while also supporting marketing efforts, and refining the product and technology.
Although the app is free, users wanting to consult a doctor, will have to pay a small fee to be connected directly to a board-certified primary care provider or an ER. A doctor, who has already reviewed K’s AI-driven triage of the patient’s symptoms, will join the conversation. In this way, faster, more convenient care based on real data and an experienced physician, will be available to patients. The service will be available to adults 18+ regardless of insurance status, and doctors will diagnose, prescribe, or refer patients to in-person care as appropriate.
K Health plans to use the newly acquired capital to expand the platforms on which it can be used by performing additional research that will aid in earlier identification detection methods and other areas in addition to primary care applications.
In the more distant future, K Health has much broader aspirations, wanting its platform to produce better health outcomes, make preventative health behavior the rule, and help create affordable and more lucrative global healthcare systems.