K Health Raises $59M for Chat-First Care

K Health 2

K Health is the latest startup to deploy the “battlefield tactic” of raising an unlabeled funding round to help scale its platform, locking in $59M and a new strategic investment from Cedars-Sinai.

K Health’s been moving quickly since rolling out its AI-enabled symptom checker in 2018, raising $330M, expanding to 48 states, and seeing over 10M patients interact with its chatbot.

  • CEO Allon Bloch told Forbes that the K Health platform aims to be the antidote to “Dr. Google” by ingesting user symptoms then stacking them up against its database of millions of patient visits to suggest possible diagnoses.
  • The chatbot itself doesn’t give medical advice, but gives patients the option of having a human doctor take over the chat after providing them with potential diagnoses and a summary of the conversation. Over 70% of users reportedly opt for a chat-based visit.

That might sound similar to Babylon and Zipnosis, but K Health licensed its original dataset from HMO Maccabi in its native Israel, where patients tend to stick with the same payor most of their lives and thus provide a rare longitudinal view of clinical and outcomes data.

  • K Health reportedly did $52M in revenue last year (margins currently still in the red), around 40% of which was direct-to-consumer and the rest was through enterprise contracts. 

The next chapter of K Health’s journey is to build up its roster of hospital clients to serve as a “digital practice partner,” starting with its new investor Cedars-Sinai.

  • Cedars-Sinai will be using K Health for virtual primary care, and by the end of the year expects to have an app co-developed to triage new patients to the system’s physicians.

The Takeaway

One of the more interesting pieces of K Health’s funding announcement was Cedars-Sinai’s input into where K Health fits into its broader digitization strategy. While the health system excels in complex areas such as transplants and neurosurgery, primary care remains difficult to tackle due to physician shortages and burnout. These logistical challenges are the exact problems that K Health looks to address, and they’re also challenges that are far from exclusive to Cedars-Sinai.

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