Israeli personal health app K Health has announced a $48 million financing round, led by the 14W and Mangrove Capital. K Health has now raised a total of $97 million to date. Previous investors in K Health also participated in the round: Anthem, Primary Ventures, Max Ventures, Box Group, Comcast Ventures, and Lerer Hippeau.
K Health was founded in 2016 by Israelis Allon Bloch (CEO), Israel Roth (CTO) and Ran Shaul (CPO). The company developed artificial intelligence (AI)-based technology that enables users to obtain an accurate as possible initial medical opinion via an app. The technology is based on diagnoses received by patients with similar characteristics. Once the diagnosis is received, the patient can consult a doctor. K Health has 110 employees in New York and Tel Aviv, including 20 doctors, 30 data scientists and AI personnel, 40 engineers, and 20 product and marketing personnel.
Last year, K Health announced that it was cooperating with Anthem, which is using K Health's technology and supplying it with medical information about 41 million people in the US. In Israel, K Health is cooperating with Maccabi Health Services, which has provided it with access to an extensive anonymous database consisting of 20 years of medical files, laboratory results, etc.
Diagnosis via app saves time and money, and also enables patients to avoid being infected at health fund offices or hospital emergency rooms. In addition, the system provides a substitute for Google searches, which do not provide accurate information adapted to the web surfer. "Google says that you have a chronic problem whenever you sneeze. Our system provides a diagnosis according to your characteristics and those of people like you," Bloch says. "The patient's dialogue with the app goes to the doctor, who can provide treatment in minutes and solve 90% of the patient's problems. This eases the load on doctors, because people come to the doctor's office when there is no need. People often need consultation or a prescription, or simply wait a few days."
K Health's app is free, but consultation with a doctor is likely to require payment. The company has two business models. The first is cooperation with companies like Anthem that offer the app to their customers. The second is an offer of medical services by doctors employed by K Health. In both cases, the doctors supply patients with prescriptions and referrals to laboratory tests or hospital emergency. The company emphasizes that it can lower the cost of medical services by 80%.
"There's another advantage to obtaining an opinion with an app. The app is never tired because of a long working day, doesn't have to race home, and never gets bored because it has seen 500 similar cases in the past month," Bloch explains. "In addition, doctors, especially family doctors, have to constantly learn new things, only a few of which are relevant to them. If a patient comes with something that's not obvious, the doctor will not have the time to spend three hours studying the matter. The patient will then be referred to a specialist, and it will take several months."
Bloch also mentions a broader use of such technology. "The health system has other considerations, financial ones for example, and therefore makes decisions according to a broad common denominator, for example about how many of a certain type of machine are deployed in Israel and where. We want people to know that they have other options, possibly even to buy a machine for themselves. I want people to have the knowledge and ability to manage their risks by themselves, and for that, they need knowledge."
The Internet giants, headed by companies like Google and Amazon, also see an opportunity in the health sector, including a large amount of information about the population, but Bloch is not worried. "The main risk is not the giant companies; they will definitely get involved. Libra, for example (the digital currency being developed by Facebook), is an excellent idea, but no one will let Facebook do this."
Commenting on the issue of privacy, Block says, "Our models are modules, not people. We obviously have to invest in security. We're investing a lot of money in it. The information is stored on the cloud, but we're doing a lot to keep it safe."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 27, 2020
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