App that aims to replace 'Dr. Google' raises $25M
K Health, the maker of a symptom-checker app that directs patients to doctors, has raised $25 million in a Series B round that will fuel its expansion into telehealth and chronic-care management.
The funding, from investors Comcast Ventures, 14W and Mangrove Capital Partners, brings total investment in the company to $37.5 million.
The artificial intelligence–powered app asks a series of questions about a patient's symptoms and medical history and then compares it to the medical data of people matching their age and gender. Users then receive a list of probable diagnoses along with the next steps people with their symptoms usually take. They can then push that information to a doctor, who can advise them on next steps, including potentially scheduling an appointment.
K Health's algorithm is based on a database of 2.25 million patients from the Israeli HMO Maccabi Healthcare Services. As more people use its app, the database will grow.
So far 500,000 people have downloaded the app in the U.S., and it averages 15,000 to 20,000 users a day, said Allon Bloch, founder and CEO. Bloch previously was CEO of the online publishing platform Wix in the years before its 2013 IPO and was a co-founder and CEO of online car retailer Vroom.
With the funding, K Health is preparing to roll out an option for its own doctors to treat patients remotely and advise them on next steps, which Bloch said will be available for less than the cost of a copay.
K Health is currently free for users, and it has not yet agreed to any contracts with insurers. It is also testing out a product to help manage chronic-care conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes.
Bloch said K Health can serve users when other forms of care aren't accessible, such as when, for example, someone has severe abdominal pain at midnight.
"You go to Google, you scare yourself, your doctor's office is closed and your options are to go to the ER or wait it out and hope for the best," Bloch said. With K Health, doctors can receive information about a patient's symptoms and advise them what to do next, he said.
K Health is currently working with about 40 providers a dozen practices in New York City. Dr. Edo Paz, a cardiologist and paid medical adviser to K Health, said the app arms doctors with information before a patient ever comes in for a visit. He also believes it has potential to help practices manage patients' care.
"For established patients that a doctor has already seen, patients can share symptoms or through the app and the doctor can decide if that patient need to come in, go to the emergency room or can be safely managed at home," he said.
This story first appeared in Crain's New York Business.
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