Abridge’s Rapid Rise: The Healthcare AI Startup Making Waves in the Industry


Pittsburgh-based AI startup Abridge has emerged as one of the most talked-about and rapidly growing health-tech companies, thanks to its innovative approach to AI-powered medical note taking. Founded in 2019 by Shiv Rao, a practicing cardiologist and corporate venture capitalist, Abridge aimed to reduce the time doctors spend on paperwork, which has been a major cause of physician burnout.

Abridge’s LLM is trained on thousands of doctor-patient conversations and allows doctors to record medical notes in real-time, eliminating the need for hours of typing afterwards. The company’s basic transcription product is free and can be downloaded on smartphones, with doctors’ usage forming the basis of the LLM.

Fast-forward to 2024, and Abridge has become a sought-after solution for large medical systems. Despite typically long sales cycles, hospitals are suddenly signing contracts with Abridge at a rapid pace. The company has announced a new health system customer nearly every week, including the University of Chicago, Sutter, Yale, and Lee Health.

Image Credits: Abridge / Abridge

Hospital executives and doctors are hailing Abridge as “life-changing,” “magical,” and “one of the most important paradigm shifts” in their careers. One of the biggest criticisms of generative AI is that it has few substantive business applications, but virtual medical note taking seems to be a valuable use case.

Abridge’s technology is not only improving physician efficiency but also providing a valuable payback. “It’s one of the hottest products in the AI space at the moment,” says Dr. Lee Schwamm, chief digital health officer at Yale New Haven Medical System. The company has also gained a right to be integrated inside Epic, the most widely used electronic health record system in the US.

While Abridge appears to be ahead of its competitors, including Microsoft-owned Nuance, Schwamm is cautious about predicting the long-term viability of the company’s lead. With the pace of innovation in generative AI moving fast and furious, today’s winners could easily lose their edge.

Despite the uncertainty, investors are pouring money into Abridge, which recently raised $150 million in a Series C round at a valuation of $850 million. For now, Abridge seems to be ahead of the pack in the AI-powered medical scribe competition.

Marina Temkin
Marina Temkin
Marina Temkin is a venture capital and startups reporter. Previously, she wrote about VC for PitchBook and Venture Capital Journal. Earlier in her career, Marina was a financial analyst and earned a CFA charterholder designation.

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