Hippocratic Raises $53M, Showcases AI Staff Marketplace

Less than a year after emerging from stealth with little more than a vague mission to transform healthcare through the power of “safety-focused” generative AI, Hippocratic AI took the stage at NVIDIA’s GTC conference to announce the close of its $53M Series A round.

When Hippocratic debuted last May, it hadn’t yet decided on its first use case, despite closing more seed funding than any company we’d ever covered ($50M). 

  • In July, it raised an additional $15M and partnered with 10 healthcare providers for model evaluation, including Cincinnati Children’s, HonorHealth, and SonderMind.
  • Now, Hippocratic found its use case, as well as a $500M valuation.

The first product Hippocratic is rolling out for phase 3 safety testing: a staffing marketplace where healthcare orgs can “hire” generative AI agents that complete low-risk, non-diagnostic, patient-facing tasks.

  • Initial roles for the AI agents include chronic care management, post-discharge follow-up for specific conditions (congestive heart failure, kidney disease), as well as SDOH surveys, health risk assessments, and pre-operative outreach.
  • The agents won’t be allowed to speak with patients unsupervised until phase three testing is completed, which involves its 40+ partners and 5,500 licensed clinicians interfacing with the agents as if they were patients.

Shareholder hero and NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang demonstrated a care manager agent named “Diana” on stage at GTC, and this video of the demo will tell you everything you need to know about the look and feel of Hippocratic’s first product. 

  • NVIDIA also announced that it’ll be working alongside Hippocratic to develop “super-low-latency conversational interactions,” which will reportedly cost about $9/hr to run on the company’s hardware.

Critics are hard to avoid when you hit a half-billion valuation before launching a product and start throwing around terms like “Health General Intelligence (HGI).” Most critics seem concerned about medical device classifications, venture capital mania, and some past lawsuits, but time will tell which critiques (if any) can stop Hippocratic’s momentum.

The Takeaway

Despite all the talk about whether a general purpose healthcare AI is possible or safe, Hippocratic has an elite roster of VCs and provider partners that are willing to help it find out. Hippocratic definitely has the talking points nailed, now we’ll have to wait and see whether it has the operational chops to back them up.

Hippocratic Emerges to Bring LLMs to Healthcare

Although we touched on Hippocratic AI’s emergence from stealth last week, the startup struck all the right chords with its talk of generative AI and large language models so we’re doing a deeper dive to unpack the hype. 

Hippocratic AI debuted with $50M from a massive seed round co-led by the VC power duo of General Catalyst and a16z, giving the company a “triple-digit millions” valuation right out of the gate.

  • The company’s mission is to transform healthcare through the power of “safety-focused” generative AI, but potential use cases are still in the works, with early ideas revolving around consumer-facing tasks like diet planning and medication reminders.
  • The founders even told STAT that their goals for the funding are only exploratory: developing a LLM that’s fine-tuned for healthcare, heavily testing it against knowledge benchmarks, then measuring its bedside manner. 

If including Hippocratic in the name wasn’t enough of a hint, pressure-testing the model’s accuracy is in the company’s DNA, and it isn’t planning on rushing into clinical care.

  • Accuracy is ensured through reinforcement learning from human feedback (RLHF) performed by medical professionals – a strategy that’s apparently outperforming GPT-4 on 105 of 114 healthcare certifications. [Comparison Chart]
  • As for bedside manner, Hippocratic is planning on “detecting tone” and “communicating empathy” better than rival models, and developed its own benchmark for behaviors such as “taking a personal interest in a patient’s life.”

The Takeaway

Healthcare hasn’t always been kind to AI-first businesses, with IBM having to let go of its Watson Health division and Babylon recently meeting the end of its road as a publicly traded company. That said, both of those examples paddled too early to catch the current generative AI wave with its mile-long barrel of new tech and excitement. It’s too early to tell whether Hippocratic will buck the trend, but if there was ever a moment to try it – this is it.

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