Since the shift to electronic health records (EHRs) in the United States accelerated a decade ago, the day-to-day impact on doctors is staggering. To keep records current and useful, physicians have to ensure all records of patient interactions get recorded, meaning that a large chunk of their day is spent staring at a screen rather than taking care of their patients. Recent studies show that doctors may spend as much as half of their work day filling out the records of their interactions with patients.
“In an ideal world, physicians would just interact with patients,” Saykara founder and CEO Harjinder Sandhu told Forbes. “That’s what they want to do. They don’t want to type notes.”
His Seattle-based company’s solution is an app that records a doctor’s interactions with patients, using AI and machine learning to hone in on key points of the doctor’s side of the conversation and appropriately document on the EHR, leaving the doctor free to focus on the patient. A new update to Saykara software now passively records in office without requiring activation, making operation even easier for doctors, who previously had to start recordings manually.
Sandhu is a serial entrepreneur who successfully launched three companies operating at the intersection of health care and voice recognition software. The former York University computer science professor launched MedRemote, a physician transcription software company, in 2000. Following its acquisition by Nuance Communications in 2005, Sandhu stayed with the company for six more years before cofounding Twistle, which helps doctors automate follow-up patient care. Saykara, launched in 2015, seems a logical next step in advancing healthcare-based software.
“A lot of physicians don’t like to spend time at the screen while their with their patients,” he says. “So they end up doing all their documentation in the evenings – so much time working leads to burnout.”
Sandhu’s goal for Saykara is ambitious – to create a completely seamless experience in which the sophisticated software extracts the relevant information from doctor-patient conversations without getting derailed by tangents. In the short-term, Saykara focuses on the voice of physicians as they actively listen to symptoms and repeat them back to their patients. Doctors must review each patient interaction transcribed by Saykara to ensure it’s accurate but even then, the company claims it’s reducing the time spent entering notes by as much as 70%.
This has allowed some of its customers to take on new patients, Sandhou says, and others to get their personal lives back. “One physician said he read a book for the first time in about four years since he now had his evenings free,” he told Forbes.
Saykara has believers, having raised $7.53 million from the likes of SpringRock Ventures, Elevate Innovation Partners and Madrona Venture Group, according to Pitchbock. Customers include Providence Health Care, MultiCare and others.
“We’re actually making a really big difference for physicians,” Sandhu said. “This is a really exciting field right now.”