How Clinical Voice Assistant Startup Suki Lowers Insurance Claim Rejection by 19%
Medical professionals are turning to digital tools more than ever to cope with the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. Healthcare-focused voice assistant Suki is one of those tools, and the startup has published a new white paper showcasing how doctors use its technology to reduce the time and effort spent on paperwork in favor of patient care. The paper arrives just as Google Cloud named Suki its partner of the year in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Suki’s voice assistant is designed for collecting and transcribing notes and patient conversations on behalf of doctors. The AI fills in Electronic Health Records (EHR) automatically and handles a doctor’s data entry so that they have more time to care for patients. The goal is to increase how much time doctors spend with patients, as well as to limit physician burnout, which is often linked to excessive administrative work. Suki now claims that its tech reduces the time doctors spend on note-taking by 76%. That extra time means a 12% increase in patient encounters with a commensurate $30,000 more in annual revenue for a doctor using Suki, according to the company’s research.
“We’ve been around long enough and generated enough data to be confident of quantitative data,” Suki COO Nathan Gunn said in an interview with Voicebot. “There’s been a notable decrease in [insurance] claim denial. In one private group practice, we saw a 19% reduction in claim denial. That’s about $18,000 more a year in revenue. Claim denials particularly went down dramatically when it came to the category, not enough information provided. That’s interesting because the usual templates for [claim forms] are not helpful. Using voice for the information leads to richer patient history and treatment plans. The time of note-taking is shorter, and the length of note is longer.”
The Google Cloud award marks just one of the channels Suki has been using to spread its technology. The company also works with Amazon, launching a medical transcription service at the end of last year, and partnered with medical enterprise platform Rx.Health in December as part of the platform’s new digital therapeutics toolkit. That’s on top of the doctors who use Suki directly. Regardless of where they are using it, physicians are giving lots of positive feedback, according to Gunn.
“We have a net promoter score of 50 to 60. That’s what you think of when you think of Netflix or Starbucks when people like you and want to use you,” Gunn said. “It’s utterly unheard of in medical electronic health records, which usually have negative scores. The question for [Suki] is, how do we bring the great experience [of consumer brands] to physicians?”
Funding for the Future
During the pandemic, Suki has been offering a slimmed-down version of its software called Suki Lite for free to pop-up and triage clinics and extending a free trial of its regular software to hospitals and other facilities through the end of May. Suki is also built into the software that Rx.Health is providing to hospitals during the pandemic for free. That generosity makes Suki look good, but it’s not a huge stretch for the startup, which closed a $20 million Series B funding round led by Flare Capital Partners a month ago. The new investment came in a little less than two years after a $20 million Series A.
“After our funding, we are pretty comfortable,” Gunn said. “We can weather the storm for a few years.”
While the pandemic is making more in the medical profession turn to digital tools like Suki than might have done so at this point, the industry in an upswing regardless. The startup and its rivals, such as Saykara, which has raised $9 million from investors, are positioned to provide what will become a staple for medical practices in the years ahead, according to Gunn.
“There have been a couple of tech tailwinds that have ripened in the last few years to allow companies like Suki to take a swing,” Gunn said. ”One is that big platforms are ultra-secure and HIPAA-compliant. That wasn’t available a few years ago. The other thing is voice tech. You don’t have to build your own speech-to-text systems. Those two tech trends didn’t exist five years ago. At this stage, it’s an early market with lots of startup and incumbents developing ideas. The market will settle out over the next few years. I would describe now as the end of the beginning.”