Orbita raises $9 million to develop conversational AI for health care


Orbita, a provider of conversational AI-powered voice and chatbot solutions for health care, today announced that it raised $9 million. CEO Bill Rogers says the funding will be used to expand the company’s reach as it supports engagement and marketing in the life sciences market.

The demand for triaging technologies like conversational bots has risen substantially as the pandemic rages on, which isn’t surprising. Millions of patients wait at least two hours to see a provider, according to a study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Tech giants including IBM, Facebook, and Microsoft have partnered with governments and private industry to roll out chatbot-based solutions, as well as a number of startups, but Orbita claims its products were tailor-made for health care use cases.

For instance, Orbita — whose customers include the American Red Cross, Amgen, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Cognizant, the Mayo Clinic, and Merck — says it runs all of its chatbots’ information by medical professionals, drawing on CDC guidelines. It has agreements in place to provide access to content from trusted partners such as the Mayo Clinic, and its in-house clinical team prioritizes the use of that content, which it claims is vetted by “leading institutions.”



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Orbita says that in the past few months, it’s responded to an “unprecedented” number of requests related to COVID-19 both from existing and prospective customers around the globe. In March, it announced a free chatbot designed to automate symptom screening and question-answering using content sourced from the CDC. And more recently, the company released additional capabilities to address the evolving demands of the pandemic, including automated health monitoring for patients, employees, and other at-risk populations.

Orbita’s OrbitaEngage platform lets customers deploy not only chatbots but voice search, helping people to find doctors, locations, services, and activities as it deflects inquiries away from call centers and places patients in virtual waiting rooms. OrbitaEngage performs search engine optimization, ensuring providers’ content is formatted and discoverable by assistants like Google Assistant. And it answers basic questions like “I have a rash on my arm, what should I do?” and “Are there any pediatric ENTs that are within 20 miles?”

Orbita also claims to offer the world’s first end-to-end HIPPA-compliant, voice-enabled virtual assistant in OrbitaAssist, which facilitates hands-free communication for patients and care teams with backend analytics,  alerts and escalation, and electronic health record integration. Developed in partnership with nurses, it ostensibly eliminates unnecessary trips to the bedside by interacting with patients to confirm requests and combat social isolation, and by routing patient and care worker requests while providing educational resources, surveys, and assessment tools.



Orbita’s complimentary OrbitaConnect tool is a virtual assistant for chronic, pre-, and post-visit care continuity. Experience templates for health care coaching, medication reminders, question answering, and assessments enable the deployment of virtual text, voice, or touch assistants across smart speakers, mobile, web apps, and other vectors, while a flexible integration framework that incorporates electronic health records, custom and third-party content services, population health systems, and health dictionaries and ontologies.

“Our mission has always been to transform lives through the power of voice and conversational AI,” said Rogers. “Thanks to our customers and partners, we’ve witnessed how virtual healthcare assistants based on our technology have improved both healthcare efficiency and quality.”

Philips Health Technology Ventures co-led the financing round with HealthX Ventures, which saw participation from Cultivation Capital and Newark Venture Partners. It brings five-year-old Boston-based Orbita’s total raised to over $16.5 million.

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