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TORTUS takes the win with $4.2M funding, to speed up medical admin with AI assistant

TORTUS team. Image credit; TORTUS

With the NHS struggling due to financial pressures, staffing shortages, and ever-increasing administrative work, every second that can be freed up for medical practitioners to spend with their patients is often, literally, a matter of life and death.

Now new tech may be the solution that can help relieve some of the pressure on GPs, consultants, and other practitioners. London-based healthtech startup TORTUS has launched an innovative research pilot in collaboration with the renowned Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), marking a groundbreaking move for AI technology in healthcare.

Strategic investors and funding allocation

Khosla Ventures, renowned for its investments in healthcare success stories such as Headspace, Hello Heart, and Sword, has led the $4.2 million seed funding round for TORTUS. Other notable participants include Entrepreneur First and Lord David Prior, former health minister and NHS chair. The new funds will be instrumental in accelerating the development and compliance of the O.S.L.E.R. agent. TORTUS aims to expand its capabilities, including tasks such as placing prescription orders and enhancing diagnostic coding within the system.

TORTUS is in the early stages of forming partnerships with healthcare organisations across the UK, Canada, and the United States.

O.S.L.E.R, an AI assistant revolutionising clinical documentation

TORTUS introduces its lead product, O.S.L.E.R. (Operating System Leverage in Electronic Records), an advanced AI assistant designed to streamline and automate the clinical documentation process for clinicians. O.S.L.E.R. is tailored to handle diverse administrative tasks, including pre-chart summaries, visit notes, lab requests, coding, and more. By actively listening to clinician-patient conversations and seamlessly interacting with electronic health records (EHR) systems, O.S.L.E.R. facilitates a smoother and more efficient documentation workflow.

Achieving NHS DTAC compliance and AI deployment in practice

TORTUS has achieved a significant milestone as the first UK-based company to meet the NHS DTAC standard of compliance for its AI technology. This compliance ensures the safe and secure deployment of generative AI in collaboration with clinicians and hospital teams. The technology is aimed at improving patient care and supporting care teams.

TORTUS has initiated the practical implementation of generative AI in the NHS through a research pilot with Great Ormond Street Hospital. This marks the first time an NHS Trust has deployed generative AI in practice, focusing on collaboration with clinicians to ensure the technology’s safety and effectiveness for both patients and healthcare teams.

Revolutionising healthcare with AI

TORTUS’s platform, O.S.L.E.R., serves as an AI assistant for clinicians, alleviating the burden of administrative tasks that often consume a significant portion of healthcare professionals’ time. By automating documentation processes, clinicians can redirect their focus to patient care, enhancing the overall quality and efficiency of healthcare services.

Dr Shankar Sridharan, Chief Clinical Information Officer and Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist at GOSH: “Healthcare professionals across all roles spend an average of 13.5 hours per week adding to, or creating, clinical documentation. This is more than a third of the average clinician’s working hours, and 25% more time than in 2015. At GOSH, we’re committed to rigorously trialling the best new clinical technologies to generate valuable data and evaluate their impact. We’re very excited to have this opportunity to partner with TORTUS and to study how generative AI tools could help our clinicians by safely freeing them from administrative tasks and allowing them to spend more time directly interacting with patients.”

Lord David Prior, former health minister & NHS chair: “The U.K. has some of the most innovative, exciting health-tech companies in the world. TORTUS is one of them. O.S.L.E.R. will transform the working lives of doctors and is truly setting the standard for how innovative technologies like generative AI can be safely harnessed and deployed into the NHS to benefit clinicians and patients alike.

“As the workload for clinicians in the NHS is constantly increasing, TORTUS is now automating healthcare note generation and records, giving doctors more time to focus directly on the patient, but the future potential of this technology is nearly limitless.”

Adina Tecklu, Partner at Khosla Ventures: “Doctors become doctors because they want to care for patients, but the reality today is that they are burdened with administrative work resulting in physician burnout and compromised patient care. TORTUS is the AI assistant for every physician, in every patient visit. It automates documentation and critical workflows so that doctors can spend more time with patients and no time on paperwork, a huge boon to both physician and patient wellbeing.”

Future steps and vision

TORTUS plans to use the funds to further enhance O.S.L.E.R.’s capabilities, making it a comprehensive solution for clinicians. The focus is on expanding into additional hospitals and primary care organisations, with upcoming deployments in February 2024.

Comments from Co-founder and CEO of TORTUS, Dr Dom Pimenta, “Throughout my 16-year medical career I’ve witnessed countless cases of burnout amongst my colleagues, and I’ve experienced it first-hand on more than one occasion. I know that over-worked, stressed clinicians can’t deliver the best quality of care to patients, and that this negatively impacts their patients’ experiences and outcomes. 

“We created O.S.L.E.R to free clinicians from their keyboards and the burden of administrative tasks. The technology delivers an immediate improvement to the engagement between a clinician and patient, which is the foundation of every healthcare system.

“Ensuring patient safety, data security and water-tight regulatory compliance has been our primary focus during every stage of the product development and testing. We now have the evidence and approvals to confidently enter into a partnership with one of world’s leading paediatric hospitals, and to transform the working practices of their clinicians for the better. 

“I’d like to thank the GOSH team and all of our investors for their support of our mission to develop safe and effective generative AI technologies that solve healthcare’s biggest challenges.” 

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