AI-based symptom checker Ubie raises $26.4M

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The Japanese startup says it will use the funding to build out partnerships with pharma companies

We don’t actually spend much time with our doctors: the median length of a visit is 15.7 minutes, with the patient speaking for 5.3 minutes, and the physician speaking for 5.2 minutes. Given how truncated it is, if you have to spend all your speaking time explaining to the doctor what the problem is, and what your symptoms are, it means that there’s less time to spend on more important things, like what the best treatment options are. By the same token, not all problems require a doctor appointment, and this can also waste time for both the doctor and patient.

Ubie wants to streamline this process, making sure that patients get the right level of care, and that doctors are armed with more information about their patients: the Tokyo-based company is the developer of an AI-based symptom tracking platform that help guide the patient to the correct treatment option, as well as an AI-powered patient intake product that allows physicians to know what the problem is they’re treating before they ever see the patient. 

On Monday, the company announced a $26.2 million (JPY 3.5 billion) Series C funding from new investors Norinchukin Capital, NVenture Capital, The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, and Egg FORWARD, along with existing investors SUZUKEN. With this latest funding, Ubie has now raised a total of $59.8 million (JPY 7.98 billion).

Founded in 2017, Ubie’s data and technology is based around over 50,000 peer-reviewed international publications and a real time Artificial Intelligence model, allowing the company to have disease and symptom coverage with over 1,100 medical conditions and 3,500 question data types in its Clinical Database.

The company’s symptom checker asks patients around 20 questions about their symptoms to discover related diseases and provide more detailed actionable health information. Patients can detail their symptoms, such as headache, cough, or throat swelling, as well as their disease, such as migraine, or gastritis. They can also simply state which part of their body hurts, or what specialty they need.

The questionnaire takes a total of three minutes, after which Ubie’s AI-powered system will generate a free report on possible causes, as well as when to see a doctor, what is causing those symptoms, treatment information, and a guide on how to access appropriate medical care. 

The service is used by 5 million monthly users worldwide, including in Japan and the U.S.

Ubie’s other product is its AI-powered patient intake, a service that streamlines the medical interview process for medical institutions. Before their appointment, patients can fill out an intake form at home via smartphone and share the information with their healthcare provider. That form is then automatically converted to SOAP format and sent to the doctor’s dashboard,  which they can copy and paste into any EMR. The service is being used more than 1,000 medical institutions worldwide.

Now that it has this new funding, Ubie says its aim is to “bring a new medical experience to Japan and the U.S. by connecting patients, medical institutions, and pharmaceutical companies.”

The company wants to ensure three things: one, that patients visit the right medical institution at the right time; two, that physicians can access relevant, up-to-date knowledge from the vast amount of the latest information on diseases and rare diseases that are not their specialty; and, three, that pharmaceutical companies continue to provide patients with the appropriate information and scientific findings related to their conditions.

“Not only in Japan, but also in other countries, the current healthcare system is suffering from various losses due to the fragmentation of information held by patients, medical institutions, and pharmaceutical companies. This fundraising aims to accelerate collaboration with pharmaceutical companies and create an unprecedented consumer-centered medical experience utilizing Ubie’s data platform,” Yoshinori Abe, MD, Ubie’s co-founder and CEO, said in a statement.  

“Ubie already has business with more than 20 major pharmaceutical companies in Japan and other countries, and this brings Ubie closer to realizing its mission ‘To develop a healthcare guide for everyone,’ both in Japan and the U.S.”

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