Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Northwell invests $3M in Hume AI to develop speech, expression understanding for healthcare

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Hume AI scored $3 million from Northwell Holdings, the investment arm of New York-based health system Northwell Health, to continue developing machine learning models that aim to understand speech and expression.

WHAT IT DOES

The startup builds natural language-understanding tools that take text, audio, video or images and try to capture meaning, as well as emotion and other expressions. According to the company, some of its tools are meant to note feelings like surprise, pain or sarcasm, or to capture vocal sounds like gasps, sighs and laughs. 

Hume AI plans to use the capital to refine these ML models for healthcare, including clinical research, patient screening and accessibility technology.

“Technologies that draw upon the latest scientific research to help us better understand not just what people say, but how they say it, have profound potential to benefit patients,” Rich Mulry, CEO and president of Northwell Holdings, said in a statement.

“We already see rising demand for this technology in treatment, clinical research, telehealth applications and more. To promote the careful development of these potentially transformative technologies, we are excited to launch our partnership with Hume AI through an investment that reflects our confidence in Dr. Alan Cowen and his groundbreaking team.”

MARKET SNAPSHOT

As physicians report increasingly high levels of burnout, some startups have pushed AI-backed tools to cut down on their administrative work. Abridge, which offers a tool that records, transcribes and organizes information gleaned from conversations with patients, recently raised $12.5 million in Series A-1 funding.

Another voice assistant for doctors, Suki, announced it scooped up $55 million in Series C funding late last year.

Meanwhile, Northwell has been expanding its investments in AI. Last year, the health system partnered with Aegis Ventures on a joint venture focused on the use of AI to address quality, equity and cost problems in healthcare. Hume is also a portfolio company of Aegis Ventures. 

In April the startup studio and Northwell announced the launch of Ascertain, a platform that aims to develop and commercialize healthcare AI companies.

Northwell also recently announced a partnership with Google Cloud to use cloud technology and AI to automate administrative workflows and identify patient risk factors for early intervention.



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