KenSci CEO on why AI is really 'assistive intelligence'

The rise of AI and machine learning in the healthcare market hasn’t gone unnoticed by KenSci, a Seattle-based company that offers an AI and machine-learning platform for healthcare groups. The company has now raised an additional $22 million in hopes of growing along with the market.

“This market is moving at a very very fast pace,” Samir Manjure, KenSci co-founder and chief executive officer, told AI in Healthcare. “We are just getting started in terms of the growth we expect to see in machine learning and AI in healthcare.”

KenSci raised $22 million in Series B funding in an effort to expand the company globally and further accelerate its product roadmap, the company announced Thursday, Feb. 7. The funding round was led by Polaris Partners, along with Ignition Partners, Osage University Partners, Mindset Ventures and UL Ventures. It’s now raised a total of $30.5 million after a Series A funding round in 2017 brought in $8.5 million.

Founded in 2014, the company offers an an AI-powered risk prediction platform for healthcare organizations. The platform takes in data from several sources—like electronic medical records (EMRs), claims, billings and wearables—and analyzes it to provide insights organizations can use to improve patient outcomes and save costs.

The company currently works with dozens of healthcare organizations in the United States, United Kingdom and Singapore, according to Manjure. With the funding, KenSci now hopes to work with more organizations globally.  

“In the last two years, we’ve singularly invested ourselves in building a platform that simplifies the way health systems look at their data and gain actionable, predictive insights to save lives and costs,” Manjure said in a press release. “With this round of funding, we’re excited to take these capabilities to a global stage with partners who complement our capabilities and are committed to helping us drive this transformation across the care continuum.”

KenSci’s AI platform is designed to be “assistive” and not replace physicians and other healthcare professionals, Manjure noted. 

“When we use the term ‘AI,’ we use it as ‘assistive intelligence’ instead of artificial intelligence,” Manjure told AI in Healthcare. “We strongly and staunchly believe the technology is there to augment the physician and not replace them.”

According Manjure, technology can’t replace “decades of education” and the passion of healthcare professionals. KenSci’s platform also has an explainability feature designed to keep doctors in the loop about how AI models make decisions—a feature that several experts have advocated for to solve AI’s “black box” struggle.

“The idea is to also show the drivers of the risk in a way that humans can understand and decide whether that input needs to be taken into account or be discarded,” Manjure told AI in Healthcare. “Everything we do is to keep [physicians] in the loop, who are the experts.”