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Medical Google Glass Start-Up Raises $17M in Venture Funds

Ian Shakil with Google Glass

Ian Shakil, Augmedix Inc. CEO, with Google Glass. (Augmedix Inc.)

25 April 2016. A company building a system that allows doctors to automatically create patient notes with Google Glass added $17 million in its second full round of venture funding. Augmedix Inc., a 2 year-old enterprise in San Francisco, says the new financing will enable the company to scale-up its service across the country to more health systems and private clinics.

Augmedix harnesses Google Glass, Google’s wearable camera mounted on eyeglasses, to capture interactions between doctors and patients for electronic health records. Google first introduced Google Glass as a consumer product, which received mixed reviews at best, including being banned for privacy intrusions at a number of restaurants, and the U.S. Navy base and prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. In January 2015, Google ended its Explorer early adopter program for consumers, to focus on developers that integrate Glass into larger systems.

One of those developers is Augmedix, which says it’s the first and largest Google Glass start-up of any kind. Google Glass, worn by clinicians, monitors and records interactions with patients in real time, then converts the conversation to text and formatted into a note for the patient’s electronic health record. The eyeglass display on Google Glass enables the clinician to see data and visuals from the patient’s health record, such as electrocardiogram, while interacting with the patient.

Augmedix ran a pilot test of its system with 3 family practice physicians at Dignity Health, a not-for-profit health system in California, and reported results in June 2014. The pilot test showed the Augmedix system enabled the physicians to increase the proportion of their work days for direct patient care from 35 to 70 percent. At the same time, their time devoted to electronic health record keeping declined from 53 percent before using the system to 15 percent of their work days.

The company says it now serves hundreds of primary care physicians, as well as surgeons and specialists in most states, recording interactions with some 5,000 patients a day. Augmedix so far raised a total of $40 million in venture funds, beginning with a seed round in March 2014, and now employs nearly 400 employees.

The financing round was led by Redmile Group in San Francisco, a hedge fund that also makes venture investments in life sciences, biotechnology, and medical device companies. Current institutional investors Emergence Capital and DCM Ventures joined the round.

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