AI startup Abridge secures $12.5M, launches enterprise medical transcription solution to ease provider burnout

AI startup Abridge has secured $12.5 million in a series A1 funding round, bringing its total raised to date to $27 million. 

The round was led by Wittington Ventures alongside participation from existing investors like Union Square Ventures and UPMC Enterprises. New investors included Whistler Capital and Yoshua Bengio, winner of a high distinction in computer science: the Turing Award. 

Since its founding in 2018, Abridge has offered a consumer-facing app that patients can use to record their medical conversations. Each recording is transcribed, powered by AI and machine learning. The app also defines key medical terms for users and highlights next steps of care based on the provider’s plan for a given patient.  

Now, the startup is launching an enterprise solution for providers. It can be integrated with electronic medical records systems and can also be used for telemedicine appointments via an API. Providers can record any medical conversation—whether with a patient or another care team member—and, within minutes, receive a transcript. The AI service also summarizes the most medically relevant information in a doctor’s note format that the provider can verify and then input into a medical record. That summary can also be shared with the patient. 

The goal is to reduce provider burnout and increase patient satisfaction. The platform has been trained on more than 1.5 million medical encounters, the company says, and is used by 2,000 clinicians so far. 

“I became a cardiologist to help my patients improve their health, but the reality was that I was spending more time on my notes than with my patients,” Shivdev Rao, M.D., CEO and co-founder of Abridge, said in a press release. “Abridge is the solution I always wanted myself, as a physician and as a patient.”

Because of how little free time providers get between patients, it’s common for them to take “chicken scratch” notes throughout the day. Then, at night at home, they compile final notes, Rao said in an interview. This so-called “pajama time” is “soul-crushing” to providers, Rao explained. “This is ambient AI,” he said of Abridge. “All I have to do is tap a button.” 

The company committed to four years of R&D, Rao said, to make sure once a solid product was launched, it could scale quickly. And because it is easier to ingest data than to share information externally, Abridge’s solution is not affected by interoperability challenges, Rao said. “This is like an extension of the provider’s best intention to be with the patient even when they’re not in front of them,” he said. 

Any data that are recorded but not put into a medical record can be stored by the provider. That way, later, they can query them for population health insights. Abridge programmatically de-identifies data and is compliant with privacy regulations to ensure the product can serve the biggest players in healthcare. 

“We had strict requirements in looking for new ways to improve healthcare outcomes,” Robert Bart, M.D., chief medical information officer at health system UPMC, said in the press release. “Abridge is the only omnichannel service that scales to all specialties and modalities of care. It’s also the only solution that provides real-time structured data and patient care plans integrated into the electronic health record.”

Most solutions on the market are oriented around dictation, Rao noted. That is still additional work for the provider and is awkward for the patient. This way, everything that is said is captured. That can drive better accuracy and also improve coding compliance for billing, the company claims.

Abridge says it is partnering with health systems as well as a payer and a pharmacy, plus a Fortune 500 healthcare company. It did not disclose additional details. On the tech side, it is working with Twilio, Genesys, Vonage and others.