“Augmedix — a service powered by Google Glass — reclaims the hours physicians spend on the computer entering or retrieving data from electronic health records and refocuses them on what matters most: patient care.” Augmedix, of San Francisco, has been one of the highlights of Glass development for professional and enterprise use cases. I had [...]
“Augmedix — a service powered by Google Glass — reclaims the hours physicians spend on the computer entering or retrieving data from electronic health records and refocuses them on what matters most: patient care.”
Augmedix, of San Francisco, has been one of the highlights of Glass development for professional and enterprise use cases.
I had the privilege of speaking with Augmedix Chief Product Officer Pelu Tran on January 21, 2015.
We did not discuss the Augmedix product but for those unfamiliar with the company here is some background from their website.
Augmedix uses Google Glass to seamlessly push information to most major Electronic Health Records and to verbally query information from them.
Ian and Pelu, the Augmedix co-founders, first teamed up at Stanford to develop medical devices as part of the Biodesign program. Over the course of the program, the two realized that no matter what the specialty, physicians were drowning in a flood of data and documentation. Their focus quickly turned to digital health.
After trying an early version of Google Glass in the summer of 2012, the two realized the platform’s potential in healthcare and dropped everything to create the world’s first Google Glass startup. That company, Augmedix, was founded with one core belief: technology can free physicians and allow them to focus on what they do best – taking care of patients.
Last March, Augmedix received 3.2 million in funding from DCM and Emergence Capital Partners. Now they have announced an additional Series A round of $16 million, co-led by the seed investors, Emergence Capital Partners and DCM Ventures.
That is exciting news for all Glass developers, especially in the wake of Google’s shutdown of the Explorer Program and the subsequent silly news which has followed. We thought this the perfect time to speak with Tran about their products, their plans for the funds and, of course, the future of Glass.
Our cell connection was weak at best, therefore in most instances, I will be paraphrasing Mr. Tran. If I can quote exactly, then I will use quotes. I am not a trained journalist and find it most important to pass along the ideas — the gist of the conversation.
I first asked if Augmedix was surprised by Google’s announcement and how the closing of the Explorer Program will affect developers.
Tran said they thought some change was coming but had no advanced knowledge. He also thinks the Glass team themselves did not know for much longer than Augmedix did. He was “excited and thankful that Google has decided to focus on enterprise” — that ending the Explorer program will insure a better supply of Glass for Augmedix and other developers. Inventory of Glass is important for Augmedix to meet current needs along with expansion plans. Public sales of Glass tapped into the same inventory the developers rely upon to build their businesses.
Focusing on the enterprise brings Glass in line with the process followed by previous tech, he said. PCs, smartphones and tablets all began life in the enterprise and did not advance in the retail space until the software models were refined and prices came down.
If Google doesn’t throw everything into wearables, Tran said they may go the way of Kodak. “It would be uncharacteristic for Google not to be invested in wearables for the long term.” This was in response to my thought that Google might license Glass to a medical device company such as Philips.
What improvements would he like to see in Glass hardware?
Battery, better processor and WiFi connectivity are the main issues the company’s users have encountered. Augmedix has used dedicated access points to solve the problem for their physician customers, but hope future Glass devices have better WiFi connectivity.
How does Augmedix plan to utilize the fresh investment?
Tran said the company is focused on doing one thing and doing that one thing very well — that’s how they raised the additional funding. Augmedix is currently in 11 states and 35 sites, so much of the money will fund expansion. The development focus is on additional features requested by the providers. Like most Glass users, Augmedix users are constantly suggesting new and exciting use cases and Augmedix has a desire to meet its customers’ needs.
But Augmedix cannot be all things at once or be an expert in all medical fields, he said. They plan to build out the platform to allow other people to tap into the relationships the company has with its doctors and provider systems.
We discussed this point further as I feel this is an exciting development to hear. As an example, Mr. Tran mentioned podiatrists and their special needs, which Augmedix hopes would be answered by other software companies working on the platform which they are building.
Will we see an API? We will have to wait and see.