Kore.ai Extends Enterprise Conversational AI Service to Healthcare
Conversational AI startup Kore.ai has launched a new healthcare-focused service called HealthAssist as part of a plan to widen its remit beyond standard customer service. The new product augments Kore’s AI platform with HIPAA-compliant interactions for healthcare providers, insurance groups, and related organizations, part of the general rush toward conversational AI in the field.
Kore’s virtual assistant platform helps companies in the building, testing, and deploying voice and text-based customer service agents. The startup claims its tech has handled more than a billion interactions. The demand for its services has grown in reaction to longer wait times and limited agent access, according to the company. Kore HealthAssist brings the same kind of conversational AI for voice and text interactions to healthcare providers. The AI can chat with patients, providers, and insurance agents, among others, answering their questions and directing them to human staff as needed. Its HIPAA compliance means the AI can access patient records, billing, and other information for authorized callers and reduce the demand on healthcare workers.
“Some of the largest healthcare organizations in the world currently use Kore.ai’s solutions and platform technology,” Kore.ai CEO Raj Koneru said. “As a company, we have been focused on providing conversational AI solutions in complex, highly regulated and dynamic industries. It is exciting to expand our capabilities with HealthAssist, particularly given the challenges healthcare companies are facing. Conversational AI is helping fill growing workforce gaps while improving experiences, stakeholder satisfaction and increasing access to care when healthcare systems need it most,” said Koneru.
Kore’s expansion follows the $70 million in funding it raised last October, along with $20 million in debt from Sterling National Bank. Nvidia added its own $3.5 million to the round in November as part of a new partnership on enterprise conversational AI products and platforms. Nvidia’s Riva synthetic voice generator designed to produce a realistic-sounding human voice from as little as half an hour’s worth of recorded audio speech was part of the package. In healthcare, those edges may make a difference as AI quickly becomes part of the healthcare industry toolbox.
The relatively quick adoption of conversational AI by healthcare organizations fits with the rising interest found in Voicebot’s research. The percentage of people who have used a voice assistant for healthcare-related matters has risen from 7.5% to 21% in the last two years. Consumer interest in accessing information about illnesses, not least COVID-19, and a growing number of voice healthcare options have helped raise those numbers. Startups that offer some combination of conversational AI and healthcare are seeing a lot of cash thrown their way as a result. Orbita, Hyro, and Avaamo have all seen significant funding rounds and client growth. Arguably, it was healthcare and tools like COVID-19 vaccine bots that helped make Nuance worth almost $20 billion to Microsoft. Kore will have a lot of opportunities as well as competition, though the space is young enough to leave plenty of room for growth.
“We’ve had strong demand from existing customers and the industry and with the enterprise conversational AI technology rapidly evolving,” Koneru said. “I am excited to see the future of Conversational AI and HealthAssist.”