Spike Aims to Give Healthcare AI a Brain Boost and Outsmart the Tech Giants

4 Jun 2024

Move over, Dr. House. There's a new medical genius in town, and it doesn't even have a stethoscope. Spike, a Silicon Valley startup that focuses on data technology and artificial intelligence (AI), just landed $3.5 million in seed funding. Its mission? To give healthcare AI, which is set to reach $148 billion by 2029, the brainpower it needs.

The oversubscribed investment was co-led by Practica Capital and TheVentureCity, and a who's who of tech investors joined the party, including CEAS Investments, Plug & Play Ventures, Geek Ventures, and Axel Springer Porsche (APX). Spike is ready to supercharge product development, expand into new markets, and cement its status as a medical director in the AI health technology field.

So, what's Spike's secret remedy?

Its B2B solution allows developers to add AI superpowers to their healthcare apps. Spike aims to cut development time and costs to a fraction of what they used to be and connect to the data collected by hundreds of medical, wearable, and IoT devices.

Think of Spike's API as a health data buffet, offering insights from over 300 sources – from your trusty Fitbit to high-tech medical devices. It's the fuel that powers Spike's AI algorithms to deliver personalized healthcare solutions smarter than a med school grad (well, almost).

"Advancements in retrieval-augmented generation AI mean that LLMs are no longer taking a 'best guess,' but are now able to seek out specialized context, producing outputs that are much more accurate and considerably less prone to hallucinations," Povilas Gudzius, CEO and co-founder of Spike, said. "By incorporating this technology on top of Spike's high-quality health data API, we're enabling our clients to easily leverage these tools and improve the health of millions of end users."

Spike vs. the Goliaths, with a RAG, not a Stone

Sure, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have their AI health data solutions. But let's be honest: They're like old-school doctors who still use pagers. Spike is the young, energetic upstart shaking things up.

Google Cloud Healthcare API provides access to healthcare data and offers AI and machine learning tools for building healthcare applications. Amazon HealthLake is a HIPAA-eligible service that helps healthcare organizations store, transform, query, and analyze health data. And Microsoft Azure API for FHIR enables the exchange of healthcare data using the FHIR standard and offers AI tools for building healthcare applications.

So while the megaliths in the room are busy managing massive cloud infrastructures, Spike is laser-focused on healthcare. They're not just aggregating data; they're curating it, ensuring it's top-notch and tailor-made for the unique needs of the medical world.

And Spike uses retrieval-augmented generation (RAG), a technique for enhancing the accuracy and reliability of generative AI models with facts fetched from external sources. RAG helps AI models avoid embarrassing "hallucination" moments by cross-checking their answers with real-world facts. Think of it as a reality check for AI, ensuring its answers are as accurate as a doctor's diagnosis.

This makes AI more reliable, less prone to making things up, and ultimately, much more useful in the healthcare world.

"We are utilizing health expertise networks and curated in specialized context databases in RAG AI infrastructure," Gudzius said. "RAG AI allows us to incorporate these problem-specific sources effectively and makes the LLM responses more grounded. The design of the RAG AI infrastructure and domain-expert curated medical content allows us to further innovate in developing the 'Trustworthy Health AI.'"

All of this technology doesn't mean Spike can scrimp on security and privacy. Like the Big 3, it has to make strong commitments to regulatory protection, especially with searches for AI in healthcare being orders of magnitude higher than searches for AI safety.

"Spike takes data security and privacy very seriously, so our infrastructure products follow strict GDRP, HIPAA, and CCPA regulatory guidelines," Gudzius said. "From the technical perspective, we are also adopting specific techniques to prioritize data privacy. For example, we have built our data access layers that provide limited control to the LLM agent while handling data acquisition logic and complying with regulatory requirements. As the quality and volume of individuals' health data grows, there's a huge need to develop and innovate regulatory-compliant techniques for private health data-to-LLM interactions like that."

The Future of Healthcare: Spike's Prescription

This $3.5 million isn't just pocket change; it's the catalyst for Spike's grand vision. They're not just building AI tools but trustworthy AI tools that are as reliable as your favorite family doctor (but hopefully with a better bedside manner). They're expanding their reach to include everything from electronic health records to genomics data.

"We believe in a future where health data volume will grow exponentially driven by the improvements in sensor hardware," Gudzius said. "These sensors include optical, electrical, and electromechanical sensors from wearables, IoT devices, and other sources like EHRs and lab tests. We are well positioned to capture this potential because our team has extensive experience working with data acquisition and a scientific background in Health AI. Our edge is ensuring we provide the capabilities of these emerging non-diagnostic technologies to our clients in a safe and regulatory compliant way."

Spike imagines a future where AI isn't just a buzzword; it's an integral part of healthcare, improving patient care and making those dreaded doctor's visits a little less dreadful.

A version of this article was originally published on Dataconomy and is republished with permission.