In a recent development, the Paris-based startup Nabla has recently secured a substantial $24 million in a Series B funding round, with Cathay Innovation leading the investment, and participation from ZEBOX Ventures, the corporate VC fund of CMA CGM. This recent financial boost comes on the heels of Nabla’s significant collaboration with Permanente Medical Group, a division of the renowned U.S. healthcare behemoth, Kaiser Permanente.
Founded by Alexandre Lebrun, Delphine Groll, and Martin Raison, Nabla has been diligently working on an innovative AI copilot designed for doctors and medical staff. This silent work partner discreetly sits in the background, adept at taking notes and crafting medical reports in real-time during consultations.
Alexandre Lebrun, Nabla’s CEO, boasts a remarkable background as the former CEO of Wit.ai, an AI assistant startup that was acquired by Facebook. He subsequently assumed the role of the head of engineering at Facebook’s AI research lab FAIR.
Image Credit: Nabla
In a recent live demonstration, Nabla showcased its effectiveness as it seamlessly transcribed and compiled a medical report during a consultation between a real doctor and a simulated patient with back pains. Nabla employs speech-to-text technology, catering to both in-person consultations and telehealth appointments too.
Once the consultation concludes, Nabla’s AI then goes to work by processing the conversation, identifying several crucial data points such as medical vitals, drug names, and pathologies. Within just a few minutes, the system generates a comprehensive medical report, customizable to the doctor’s preferences, including personalized formatting options.
During the demo, Nabla’s Copilot impressed with its incredible accuracy, even in a crowded environment, running on a laptop a few meters away from the demonstration. Importantly, Nabla emphasizes its role as a support tool, not aiming to replace human expertise. Physicians maintain control, with the ability to edit reports before filing them in their electronic health record system (EHR).
Alexandre Lebrun shared the company’s vision, likening the progression of autonomous healthcare to the levels seen in autonomous vehicles. Nabla currently operates at level two, with plans for clinical assurance support at level three and clinical decision support at level four, subject to FDA approval.
While Nabla envisions a future where AI can handle diagnostic processes, Lebrun remains cautious, emphasizing the importance of retaining physicians in certain situations and markets. The company, primarily serving U.S. customers through its partnership with Permanente Medical Group, actively supports thousands of doctors, streamlining administrative tasks to allow more focus on patient care.
Nabla’s commitment to privacy is evident in its data handling practices. The platform, accessible as a web app or Google Chrome extension, refrains from storing audio or medical notes on its servers without explicit consent from both the doctor and patient. The focus is on data processing rather than storage, with transcripts pseudonymized, processed by a large language model, and stored in the EHR.
The company utilizes a combination of off-the-shelf and proprietary speech-to-text models, with plans to employ more specialized models in the future. As Nabla continues to process millions of consultations yearly, its reliance on real-world data is expected to contribute to ongoing improvements in its AI capabilities.