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Suki – Our Strategic Investment in Healthcare AI

December 06 2021
Written by Wes Nichols

It was 7:00 AM on a typical Sunday morning when Fareed Zakaria started zig zagging across the television screen. The images on the TV blurred into what looked like a kaleidoscope, and I realized this was not a technology problem—this was a vision problem (or worse). Naturally, I went to the hospital.

My doctor completed his exam, let me know I had experienced an ocular migraine, and began speaking into his cell phone rapidly and in a heavy, non-native accent, recounting the events of my visit. What I thought was a simple voice recording for the doctor to reference later was actually substantially more complex—a word-for-word transcription into my existing patient record with AI-based editing and medical coding by the most technologically advanced voice-based digital assistant on the market: Suki. I felt I had to find out more about this company, so I leveraged my network to quickly meet the founder and CEO, Punit Soni.

Administrative burden is the largest driver of clinician burnout, and it has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. On average, doctors spend two hours on administrative tasks for every hour with patients and, not surprisingly, nearly 70% of clinicians say they experience some level of burnout. These inefficiencies lead to fewer patient visits and higher clinician turnover.

Suki’s mission is to lift the administrative burden from doctors, so they can save time, preserve revenue, and focus on what matters most: the patient.

Suki has two main products: Suki AI Assistant and Suki Speech Service (S3). Suki AI Assistant listens and documents spoken language with industry-leading 99.5% accuracy by way of the doctor’s mobile phone, an efficient alternative to logging into multiple systems, cutting and pasting medical codes, editing narratives manually, and so on. S3 offers a suite of APIs for healthcare solutions that allow partners to leverage Suki’s back-end technology to create a custom voice experience and UI.

In April 2021, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Nuance for $19.7B, Microsoft’s second largest acquisition to date behind LinkedIn, signaling a major milestone for both Microsoft and the healthcare IT industry. The acquisition highlights (i) the magnitude of the market opportunity (Microsoft added $250B in healthcare TAM with Nuance), (ii) digital transformation of healthcare IT is at an inflection point, and (iii) healthcare is a top priority for cloud platforms’ C-suite executives.

Nuance’s speech recognition platform, Dragon, currently has the lion’s share of the medical dictation market, but Suki is more than a dictation software. Suki is a digital assistant that understands and acts on commands – for example, pulling up patients’ charts, pushing completed notes back into EMRs such as Epic, Cerner, and Athena, and copying patients’ history from previous notes (see link to product demo at the end of this post). While Suki’s first use case is clinical documentation, possibilities with its AI and NLP software are endless and include billing, coding, orders, quality, and like opportunities in the non-healthcare industries.

We are thrilled to invest in Suki and its world-class team led by seasoned product veteran, Punit Soni, who previously oversaw all product initiatives across Flipkart as its Chief Product Officer. Punit also led the search and mobile applications groups at Google. We were captivated by the team’s vision from the beginning, and we continue to be impressed by their ability to execute and their focus in building a sustainable long-term market leading company.

Across developed nations, the US leads in healthcare spending per capita, at over $10K, as well as in inefficiency and inequality. The pandemic has shown us what the healthcare community is capable of, and that the industry is adaptable and ready for innovation. We believe Suki is well positioned to capitalize on the $10T healthcare industry’s shift to cloud and prepared to transform the entire productivity and engagement category, starting with clinical documentation.

Learn more about how Suki is reimagining the healthcare tech stack here:

Suki’s latest product demo:

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