Waiting at a hospital or in front of a doctor’s chamber to get medical care is something that everyone can relate to. However, in most cases, doctors usually don’t get the chance to interact properly with the patient as they have to spend a significant portion of their time on the documentation process. According to Reuters, doctors in the USA spend an average of 16 minutes creating Electronic Health Records or EHR for each patient. It has also been discovered that doctors spend an additional 2 to 3 hours each day adding patients’ medical notes to the Electronic Health Record. Augmedix, founded by Bangladeshi-American Ian Shakil, is working on this so that doctors can spend more time on patients instead of doing administrative tasks like creating EHR records. Since the inception of Augmedix, it has raised close to $100 million in funding in 8 funding rounds and is listed on the NASDAQ through an IPO in October 2021.
The United States of America has a population of more than 331 million and has one of the world’s most complex and expensive healthcare systems. There are a lot of complexities present in this system, like financing and insurance, which is why doctors spend more time completing forms and doing other administrative work in the electronic health records than actually being able to attend to their patients. An electronic health record is a digital record of a patient’s medical history. It is a real-time healthcare journal where the patient’s medical history, like allergies, vaccine-related information, symptoms, radiology and lab test results, doctor’s diagnosis, treatment plan, medication, etc., are recorded. In 2009, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) made it mandatory for healthcare providers to digitally register their patients’ medical history and convert previous information into a digital format. Although EHR is a great initiative to ensure better patient care, it is causing USA’s doctors to spend most of their time inputting patients’ medical information into EHR software. Therefore, patient-doctor interaction regarding the actual issue is decreasing.
Silicon Valley start-up, Augmedix is working to solve this issue. In 2012, while studying at Stanford University, Ian Shakil came up with this idea. Ian Shakil originally started his venture with the vision of reducing the pressure of medical documentation on US doctors and allowing more time for patient care. At that time, Ian Shakil came up with the idea of using Google Glass to live stream a patient’s entire visit to the doctor. While this is happening, Augmedix’s remote scribing team would watch the live stream and record the patient’s information in real-time, and that information would be displayed on the doctor’s glasses. In 2014, less than two years into Augmedix’s journey, the company raised $7.3 million for the first time in its seed round. Later, in 2015, the company set up offices in four different cities in India and expanded its operations to Bangladesh by setting up its subsidiary, “Augmedix Bangladesh.” Augmedix Bangladesh started expansion on a large scale from the get-go. The organization provides opportunities for Bangladeshi youth to work directly with US doctors and develop experience with a Silicon Valley organization in the country. As remote assistants; they input medical history information from patients in the database of US doctors. And as they directly assist US doctors by inputting real-time data, the doctors can spend more time seeing patients without needing to spend time on paperwork-related tasks. The talented youths of Bangladesh have also created the diverse software and infrastructure of Augmedix. In an interview with Dhaka Tribune, Augmedix’s CFO said that more than three-fourths of Augmedix’s doctors are being served through Augmedix Bangladesh operations.
Currently, Augmedix mainly offers three types of products/solutions to doctors. They are – Augmedix Live, Augmedix Notes, and Augmedix Prep. Through Augmedix Live, when a doctor consults a patient while sitting in his chamber in the US, a scribe from Bangladesh listens to their conversation through a mobile app and documents it in real-time. That way, the doctor does not have to spend time collecting and inputting patient information by themselves during the consultation with the patient. Rather, they can spend more time identifying the patient’s health issues and focus on providing diagnoses and medications accordingly. Also, while the scribe documents the report and inputs it in the EHR, then the doctors can see those reports directly on their computer screen and verify those informations. Hence, the doctor does not have to waste much time making a decision. Furthermore, if a long-term patient is visiting, then the scribe prepares his previous medical report and history in advance for the doctor.
Although Augmedix Notes is quite similar to Augmedix Live, the process is slightly different. Here, the scribe listens to the entire doctor-patient conversation which is pre-recorded, and documents all the relevant information in the EHR system, so that the doctor can access those later in his treatment. In this case, pre-recorded means that everything the doctor consults with the patients throughout the day will be recorded in their mobile application. As soon as the doctor is finished with the day, he will upload the recording to Augmedix’s software, which will be documented by the scribe and uploaded again. By providing these two services, Augmedix can save up to 3 hours of time for doctors in the USA every day, improve productivity by 20 percent, and ensure work-life satisfaction by 40 percent. Augmedix Live and Augmedix Notes use Automatic Speech Recognition and its proprietary Natural Language Processing technology to take relevant notes from doctor-patient conversations, helping scribes accurately document the key information from the conversations.
In Augmedix Prep, scribes collect and update demographic information, medication changes since the previous visit,, and medical history of the patient and his/her family for their next visit. In addition, scribes update the patient’s medical history, which includes diagnostics, lab, and other test results. They organize these data in a relevant chart so the doctor can quickly go through this and get an overview of the previous diagnosis and medication of the patient, making the doctor’s diagnosis process easier and more efficient.
Over time, the company has brought its hardware facility services from Google Glass to mobile apps. The company processes data through the Ambient Automation Platform, a medical documentation technology engine. This technology captures doctor-patient conversations using AI, automated speech recognition, and natural language processing. From there, Augmedix scribes generate data as medical notes in real-time. The AI software used for routine documentation services for doctors is being operated by the Bangladeshi software engineering team in collaboration with the US team.
Augmedix is attempting to revolutionize medical science by using information from Doctor’s consultations with patients. It will save doctors time from filling out various forms about patients, which is a time-consuming but important task. While the scribes are taking notes on behalf of doctors, doctors can spend that time properly examining their patients. Using this technology, the company is trying to enhance the human connection between doctors & patients.