New Portable Smart Speaker Helps Oncologists Treat Cancer Patients
Healthcare AI startup Tempus has debuted a portable smart speaker aimed at helping oncologists care for cancer patients. The Tempus One cube combines a small microphone and speaker system with a voice assistant that can share real-time information on patients as well as clinical data and reports when asked.
Tempus applies machine learning and AI to genomic sequencing as a tool for diagnosing and fighting diseases. The processed data can provide doctors with insight into how best to personalize treatment for each patient, improving their outcome. The Tempus One just makes that same information portable and accessible by voice. The cube reduces the time doctors spend looking up information on their computers, putting the data at their fingertips like a voice assistant-enabled smartphone or wearable. The voice assistant can pull up all of the same answers, only faster because it’s a verbal exchange. By linking the cube to a healthcare facility and Tempus’ own database, doctors can ask questions ranging from the status of a patient’s test results to the statistics on a specific gene sequencing technique. The device is still undergoing beta testing with about 50 oncologists, but it should launch more widely later this year.
“Tempus created a learning healthcare system at massive scale that gains intelligence and insights with each stream of data and interaction,” Tempus chief scientific officer Joel Dudley said in a statement. “Tempus One enables clinicians to interact with vast Tempus information resources as they would interact with other members of their care team. At the same time, every question and conversation posed to Tempus One improves our ability to deliver the highest-quality information and insights to the next patient case.”
Healthcare providers of all stripes have started to adopt voice and AI technology. Startups like Saykara and Suki provide voice assistants for record-keeping and other administrative and secretarial services. The pace has only accelerated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last year, medical professionals worldwide have started adopting voice AI and chatbots as virtual assistants, answering potential patient questions and performing triage. Voice tech developer Nuance was inundated with enough demand that it developed an omnichannel virtual assistant platform for healthcare providers.
All of those tools and platforms rely on others for the actual hardware interfaces. The Tempus One is the Chicago-based startup’s first foray into hardware since Groupon founder Eric Lefkofsky started the company in 2015. Still, Tempus is uniquely well-positioned for pursuing the custom health tech hardware market. The startup has raised about $1.1 billion from investors, including $200 million in December at an $8.1 billion valuation. Like its new smart speaker, Tempus first focused solely on cancer but now applies its techniques to infectious diseases, cardiology, and depression. Variations on the Tempus One, or at least its software, would seem an inevitable outgrowth should the beta testing and the first launch go well.
“For the past five years we have been on a journey to bring the promise and power of artificial intelligence to healthcare,” Lefkofsky said in a statement. “Tempus One is a quantum leap forward, harnessing the almost 30 petabytes of data we have collected in the past few years, which we embedded into a device that fits in the palm of your hand and puts the full breadth and scope of our technology platform in the hands of every doctor we serve, enhancing their ability to use data in making real-time treatment decisions.”
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