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July 19, 2017
Bright.md raises $8M for AI-powered remote healthcare service with 'virtual physician assistant'
Bright.md is raising more cash for its tech-fueled virtual healthcare service that aims to improve care for patients and reduce healthcare costs for clinicians.
The Portland-based startup today announced a $8 million Series B round led by B Capital Group, with participation from previous investor Seven Peaks Ventures.
Founded in 2012, Bright.md has developed a SmartExam platform used by several major health delivery systems across the U.S., including Adventist Health, Greenville Health System, and Rush University Medical Group.
When a patient is sick, he or she can use Bright.md’s software on a desktop, mobile, or tablet device to answer clinical survey questions, select a pharmacy, and enter insurance information. A physician then receives an alert and can suggest treatment based on the patient’s answers within minutes.
The software acts as a “virtual physician assistant” for primary care providers, gathering information from patients via desktop, mobile, or tablet devices that can integrate with existing electronic health records. It is also powered by artificial intelligence and as it learns more about a patient’s health needs and conditions, the software can ask more effective questions. The data is also used to help benefit the system’s overall knowledge base.
“What is really interesting is how our system gets smarter with each interaction, on both an individual basis and collectively,” Bright.md co-founder and CEO Ray Costantini told GeekWire.
The idea is to help physicians treat patients more quickly and efficiently with the help of technology that allows them to receive care without actually going into a physical office. Costantini called SmartExam “the market-leading remote care solution,” but was quick to note that the service is different than typical video-based solutions.
“Rather than thinking about ourselves as a ‘tele-health’ company (focused on enabling the remote delivery of care), we focus on being a care automation company, streamlining and enhancing the actual process of care delivery,” he explained. “Unlike what’s offered by tele-health companies, that approach has enabled us to improve provider efficiency by an order of magnitude, while also increasing clinical quality, and the experience of care for both patients and providers.”
Costantini said Bright.md’s traction is a result of unique technology and deep understanding of clinician workflows and healthcare delivery system needs. Before he launched the startup with Mark Swinth, Costantini was a director of product strategy at Providence Health and Services where he led a digital healthcare team.
“We put the patient and provider at the center of our business, and we think that is reflective in the fact that 80 percent of eligible patients are coming back to use SmartExam again,” he noted.
Total funding for the 17-person company is now $11.5 million to date. Other investors include Oregon Angel Fund and the Stanford-StartX Fund.
“We’re amazed at the rapid success Bright.md is attaining in the marketplace, which desperately needs the kinds of tools they’re providing,” Dino Vendetti, managing partner at Seven Peaks Ventures, said in a statement. “Their solution brings technology to existing medical systems, improving patient access to physicians through quick virtual visits. This approach results in reduced costs and more personalized care, while freeing up valuable provider time to be spent on complex, problematic cases for both the patient and the provider.