Artificial intelligence (AI) is reportedly gaining traction in the healthcare industry, with venture firms investing in startups that leverage AI to revolutionize patient care, drug discovery and clinical note-taking.
One such firm, Andreessen Horowitz, has been actively backing startups focused on improving medical care through AI tools, Bloomberg reported Friday (Sept. 1). For instance, they recently co-led a $200 million funding round for Genesis Therapeutics, an AI-powered drug discovery company.
Other venture firms, including General Catalyst, Menlo Ventures and Lux Capital, are also investing in AI healthcare startups, the report said. This reflects the enthusiasm of larger tech companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Google. Amazon has introduced HealthScribe, an AI tool that helps summarize doctor visits, while Google is testing a medical chatbot in hospitals.
However, the healthcare industry poses unique challenges for tech companies due to regulations and a reliance on traditional practices, per the report. Despite this, venture firms remain optimistic about AI’s potential in healthcare.
While overall investment in AI startups has surged, AI healthcare startups are currently lagging behind last year’s funding total, the report said. However, venture firms are particularly interested in three key areas within healthcare: drug discovery, paperwork automation and diagnoses.
In drug discovery, AI is being leveraged to analyze vast datasets and accelerate the process, according to the report. Startups like Rezo Therapeutics and Insitro are developing AI-driven solutions for drug research against diseases.
AI is also making an impact in paperwork automation, with companies like Ambience Healthcare converting doctor-patient conversations into clinical notes using AI-powered tools, the report said.
However, there are concerns about the healthcare industry relying too heavily on AI for making medical decisions, per the report. Startups like Hippocratic AI focus on developing large language models (LLMs) specific to the healthcare industry for tasks like explaining pre-operation instructions to patients. However, they recognize that further advancements in AI technology are needed to ensure safety before using AI for medical diagnoses.
Healthcare players themselves are not standing still when it comes to experimenting with AI, PYMNTS reported Friday.
For example, HCA Healthcare aims to deploy generative AI in the emergency department, while Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield will be expanding the availability of its AI-driven virtual-first health plan. And both Epic and Duke Health are leveraging AI and cloud technology to improve healthcare delivery.