The London-based start-up Phare Health, co-founded by ex-DeepMind, Google Health, and Stanford alumni Dr Martin Seneviratne and Lee Kupferman, has recently closed a 2.5 million seed round led by General Catalyst. The aim: to develop innovative fintech tools for hospitals, facilitating a better understanding of real-time financial positions as well as intelligent cost and cash flow management.
KHP Ventures and Bertelsmann Investments joined the funding round, bolstering the start-up's arsenal not just with cash but industry expertise, extensive European networks, and robust resources in the healthcare sector. The funds will further stimulate Phare's work in AI development, partnership-building initiatives both in the UK's National Health Service (NHS) and abroad.
With the NHS annually committing 2.7BN to administration, a figure matched by a considerable number of employees involved in admin roles, this financial injection is timely. This is particularly apparent against a backdrop of significant financial stress for healthcare systems and associated operational difficulties for European hospitals. Among the assortment of challenges the sector faces are doctor and nurse strikes and ageing infrastructures, while financial burdens have been amplified by COVID-related backlog.
Phare Health is on a mission to tackle these issues by harnessing AI to streamline non-clinical tasks, thereby improving operational efficiencies in healthcare systems worldwide. By converting patient notes into structured data that is usable for administrative and operational teams, the start-up aims to promote a more accurate understanding of patient treatment, leading to better standard of care.
The latest funds will facilitate the continued development of Phare Health's AI system in collaboration with prominent European and US healthcare systems. Their ambition lies in the creation of a real-time, action-oriented intelligence engine built on structured data. This could spell not only greater financial resilience for healthcare systems but enhanced service for patients and the overall system.
Phare Health plans to use the funding to grow its team, principally by recruiting AI and healthcare specialists in key markets. The co-founders bring an impressive resume; both Seneviratne and Kupferman were previously involved with DeepMind Health and Google Health teams working on projects including AI screening for breast cancer and medical AI assistant MedPalm.
Dr Seneviratne explained: "As a young doctor working in hospitals in Sydney and London, the most frustrating thing was having to spend time on admin, at the expense of patient care... AI in healthcare should be invisible - it should help behind the scenes to make healthcare more efficient and safe without getting in the way of doctors and nurses."
Kupferman added: "The real challenge with digital health technology is getting it into hospitals - these systems are already stretched and deploying digital tools is rightfully not always their top priority."
Chris Bischoff of General Catalyst said they were delighted to support Phare in their ground-breaking endeavour to modernise the financial stack of the health system. Beretlsmann Investments SVP Thorsten Wirkes anticipates automation to play a crucial role in addressing labour shortage in the healthcare sector, adding that his team was thrilled to invest in Phare as the only automation coding company focusing on the inpatient market with a global ambition.