**Digital Health Startup K Health Seeks to Scale AI Technology in Hospitals with Cedars-Sinai Partnership**
Digital health startup K Health is poised to expand its artificial intelligence (AI) technology in hospitals through a new strategic collaboration with Cedars-Sinai, a leading health system. K Health aims to revolutionize the way patients receive medical advice online and eliminate the confusion that can arise from self-diagnosis with search engines like “Dr. Google.” By utilizing AI-powered chatbots that analyze symptoms and medical histories, K Health compares patients to millions of others with similar conditions and suggests potential diagnoses.
**Transforming the Doctor-Patient Experience**
K Health’s CEO, Allon Bloch, envisions their technology as a means to replicate the expertise of the world’s best doctors. The startup’s AI system mimics doctors’ decision-making processes and assists in collecting basic patient information that physicians typically spend a significant amount of time gathering. Patients engage with K Health’s chatbot, which asks approximately 25 questions and provides a summary of potential diagnoses. While the chatbot cannot offer medical advice, it gives patients the option to connect with a human doctor or nurse for further assistance. This approach allows clinicians to focus on essential aspects of patient care rather than data entry and intake processes.
With over 3.1 million patients across 48 states having engaged in a chat with a doctor or nurse through K Health, the startup has demonstrated its effectiveness in delivering primary care, urgent care, pediatric services, and chronic disease treatment. The company’s revenue reached $52 million last year, although it has not yet become profitable. Approximately 40% of K Health’s business stems from direct-to-consumer interactions, while the remainder comes from enterprise contracts with organizations like Elevance Health.
**New Partnership with Cedars-Sinai to Expand Hospital Integration**
K Health aims to deploy its technology locally by collaborating with hospitals, enabling them to serve as a gateway for new and existing patients to access comprehensive care. In a recent partnership with Cedars-Sinai, a Southern California-based health system, K Health’s AI technology will be employed to deliver virtual urgent and primary care services. Cedars-Sinai, an investor in a $59 million funding round led by K Health, also shares its commitment to digitizing healthcare services.
The collaboration between K Health and Cedars-Sinai will provide patients with an app that connects them to K Health’s AI system, allowing them to chat with credentialed doctors or nurses from Cedars-Sinai. Expected to launch by the end of the year, the app will seamlessly integrate with the health system’s electronic medical record system, streamlining the information-gathering process. If patients require specialty care, the attending clinician will facilitate referrals within the Cedars-Sinai network. Patient confidentiality and ethical considerations remain paramount, with Cedars-Sinai’s internal committee overseeing any AI applications.
**K Health’s Origins and Advancements in AI**
Bloch’s passion for healthcare data and technology was sparked by his father’s experience with inappropriate medical treatment. His father suffered a stroke due to the failure of anticoagulant medication, which prompted Bloch to explore the potential benefits of using comprehensive patient information in medical decision-making. Despite lacking prior experience in the healthcare sector, Bloch drew upon his expertise as an investor and tech executive to establish K Health in 2016.
To develop their AI models, K Health’s co-founders, including Chief Product Officer Ran Shaul, sought healthcare data sets that offered more accurate insights than the insurance billing data available in the United States. They acquired a dataset from Israeli health insurance company Maccabi, which contained anonymized health information on 2.1 million individuals over two decades. The dataset enabled K Health to analyze 400 million medical charts, two million hospitalizations, 500 million prescriptions, and over a billion lab results. Building upon this data, K Health created a language model similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, trained specifically on healthcare data rather than the entire internet.
One innovation of K Health’s AI is its ability to predict the most pertinent questions to ask patients based on their symptoms. This advanced functionality incorporates specialized algorithms and continual retraining on new data and clinician feedback. Additionally, K Health ensures that its AI system only proposes authentic diagnoses and refrains from fabricating nonexistent medical conditions.
**The Future of AI in Healthcare**
As the partnership between K Health and Cedars-Sinai shows, AI technology holds great potential in transforming healthcare delivery and providing improved access to primary care. By combining AI with human expertise, patients can receive accurate and timely diagnoses while reducing the workload of healthcare professionals. As technology continues to advance, AI will likely become an integral part of medical practices, enhancing the efficiency and quality of patient care.