As a result, hospitals are already tinkering with Amazon’s voice technology Alexa. And businesses like Augmedix are leveraging Google‘s Glass hardware to offer electronic health record support with a remote scribe.
But SayKara says it’s taking a different approach. Unlike Amazon, it is narrowly focused on the health-care space. And unlike more established competitors like Augmedix, it doesn’t rely on human transcribers, which are expensive and take months to train.
SayKara CEO Harjinder Sandhu says the first inspiration for the technology was Amazon Alexa, but that the team realized early on it needed to focus on the needs of the medical sector to get it right. In order to sell to hospitals, SayKara needs to meet compliance, security and privacy requirements, and ensure that it doesn’t make seemingly small mistakes that can actually have an enormous effect (a difference is “hypo” versus “hyper”).
“The hurdles in health care are very high,” admits Sandhu.
But Sandhu believes that the current technology is good enough for physicians to use. “We’re taking the state of the art in speech recognition and machine learning and we’re applying it,” he explained. “The key is to couple it with deep knowledge of how physicians work and the information that is relevant to them.”
The company hasn’t figured out a price yet, but Sandhu maintains that it cost a fraction of a human scribe.
Ralph Pascualy, former CEO of Swedish Medical Group, is one of the first to sign up to use the tool. In his view, so much of his doctors’ time is wasted in medical records that any company that can eat “even halfway into the problem” is worth the cost. He also appreciates SayKara’s approach in not claiming to replace doctors, but to help them with specific challenges.
“Unlike some AI tools, this company isn’t attempting to boil the ocean,” he said. “I think physicians will be more comfortable with that.”