Nuance acquires Seattle digital health startup Saykara to boost healthcare AI products

Harjinder Sandhu, CEO and Founder of Saykara, speaks on the Health Tech stage at the 2018 GeekWire Summit. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Nuance Communications has acquired Saykara, a Seattle-based health tech startup that makes a voice assistant for clinicians.

Based in Boston and publicly traded, Nuance will use the deal to improve its own AI-related health products.

The acquisition brings well-known players together. Saykara CEO and Founder Harjinder Sandhu previously co-founded and sold healthcare startup MedRemote to Nuance in 2005. He then spent five years at Nuance, where he served as Vice President and Chief Technologist, Healthcare Research and Development was.

In 2015, Sandhu got on the starting train again to start Saykara. The startup had raised $ 10 million from investors like Madrona Venture Group, SpringRock Ventures, Elevate Innovation Partners, and NewYork-Presbyterian Ventures. It employs around 30 people.

Saykara’s voice assistant Kara is similar to other consumer-facing assistants like Alexa and Siri, but was built for the doctor’s office. It can automatically document an entire doctor-patient conversation without interruption. The idea is to save doctors time and energy. A 2018 survey by Stanford Medicine and Harris Poll found that 71% of doctors say documenting medical records is a major contributor to burnout.

“I welcome the opportunity to return to the leader in conversational AI and clinical ambient intelligence and to the formidable Nuance research and development team – especially at this critical point in the development and adoption of these AI-powered innovations in healthcare.” Sandhu said in a statement.

The adoption of digital health services and products has accelerated in the wake of the pandemic. According to MobiHealthNews, there was a record 64 digital health acquisitions in the past year. Funding for digital health startups also hit new highs.

Sandhu and Saykara’s team will join Nuance’s research and development group. The terms of the contract were not disclosed. We have contacted Nuance for more details and will update this post as soon as we hear something.

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