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October 18, 2018

Inside the digital health startup that's caught Amazon's and Google's attention—and investment

Daily Briefing

    Technology giants Google and Amazon are increasingly eying the health care sector, and last month the companies invested in the digital health startup Aiva Health, which currently is piloting voice-assistant technology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

    Meet Alexa: Your patient's digital health care assistant

    What is Aiva Health?

    Sumeet Bhatia founded Aiva in Los Angeles in 2016. The company focuses on leveraging voice-assistant technology, like Amazon's Alexa or Google Home, to better serve patients and their caretakers.

    Aiva's technology uses either Alexa or Google Home to allow patients to talk with their caregivers and make requests for housekeeping or food. The technology also can help patients with pain management and performance reporting, and can connect to other devices that control patients' lights or televisions.

    Aiva currently is piloting the voice-assistant technology at Cedars-Sinai and plans to expand the technology to skilled nursing facilities and senior communities, as well as use it for at-home care for senior patients. Aiva claims the technology can connect seniors with their friends and family using video calls and hands-free phone calls. The technology also comes with an app for caregivers that will send an alert to their phone whenever a patient has a request.

    Aiva gets investments from Google, Amazon

    Last month, Aiva announced that it received an investment from the Google Assistant Investment Program, marking the program's first investment in the health care industry. Ilya Gelfenbeyn, who leads the Google Assistant Investment Program, in a statement said, "Google Assistant is already giving millions of people easier access to information, more entertainment options, and better control over their environment. It's exciting to see Aiva pushing the technology even further, using voice to improve vital human interactions like caregiving."

    A few days later, Aiva announced that it also received an investment from Amazon's Alexa Fund. As part of the investment, Aiva will have access to mentorship and resources from Amazon's Alexa team.

    Aiva did not disclose the amounts of the investments it received from Google and Amazon (Truong, MedCity News, 9/28; Lovett, MobiHealthNews, 10/1; Fox Rubin, CNET, 9/28).

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