As generative AI continues to attract more attention from healthcare leaders excited about its potential to innovate workflows and improve patient outcomes, investors are getting in on the action.

Amid significant public interest in this innovative technology and its possibilities, investment dollars are following close behind.

Case in point, Abridge recently raised $150 million to support its efforts to disrupt the clinical documentation space — marking one of the largest AI deals in healthcare. This financing round came four months after the company finished a $30 million Series B funding effort.

The Series C round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and supported by other notable healthcare investment arms like the Mass General Brigham Artificial Intelligence and Digital Innovation Fund, Kaiser Permanente Ventures and CVS Health Ventures.

Clinical documentation and the administrative burden placed on physicians has long been associated with rising rates of burnout among this class of healthcare professionals (HCP).

That’s where Abridge sees a practical use case for its technology, according to Guru Sundar, the company’s VP of Marketing.

Abridge’s platform records patient conversations and generates clinical notes in real-time using genAI, which Sundar said the company has developed since its founding in 2018. 

Rather than being a black box like some other genAI products — namely ChatGPT — Sundar said Abridge wants its platform to be transparent and understandable both for the HCPs utilizing it as well as the patients whose health is on the line. 

A healthcare marketing veteran, he said that the focus should always be on building out meaningful solutions but also preserving transparency. 

“We’re bringing structure and meaning to conversations in healthcare, helping with documentation and focusing on what matters most — the interaction between doctors and patients,” he told MM+M

Looking ahead, Abridge has aspirations to take its technology to a deeper level and focus on foundational models that can improve the working conditions for doctors across the sector.

A provider partner

In addition to raising significant capital to continue forward with its AI-powered healthcare mission, Abridge also recently inked an enterprise agreement with Yale New Haven Health System. 

As part of the agreement, Abridge will provide the organization’s clinicians with access to the company’s clinical documentation platform in an effort to reduce the administrative burden and allow the HCPs to focus instead on face-to-face care with patients. 

Calling Yale New Haven one of the “leading innovation sites” in the country, Sundar said that a differentiator in the partnership was the desire from the Connecticut-based provider organization to build out its genAI capabilities rather than simply buying a point solution provider.

He said the company is eager to tackle multiple challenges on behalf of their partner and expand the working relationship over the months and years to come.

Future of genAI in healthcare

As the fad phase of the genAI hype cycle has largely passed, we’re now entering what Sundar describes as a period focused on “real, long withstanding application” that allows for customization in healthcare.

Now, he observed, leaders are looking at a rapidly-evolving innovation and not only trying to keep pace with a technology that changes by the day but also looking for ways to use it practically.

Another key consideration for healthcare AI companies is the looming prospect of federal regulation and the establishment of industry-wide guardrails. While some companies bristle at the suggestion of external guidelines created to regulate an innovation at its earliest stages, Sundar said using genAI responsibly is at the core of Abridge.

To that end, Abridge’s chief technology officer and chief scientist Zachary Lipton, PhD is on a working group created by the Coalition for Health AI in order to test and evaluate responsible AI frameworks in healthcare.

Calling back to the company’s dedication to remaining transparent with its product offerings, Sundar said guidelines related to AI won’t stifle innovation but rather further solidify trust between vendors and clients in the industry. 

From a marketing perspective, he noted that it’s in everyone’s best interest to establish these frameworks and act appropriately.

“More and more groups and frameworks are being put out there to allow people to know who’s doing it responsibly versus not,” he said.