TORTUS, a generative AI startup building a next generation assistant for doctors, has raised £3.4 million in seed funding led by Khosla Ventures. 

The company’s lead product, O.S.L.E.R., automates the clinical documentation process for final sign-off by clinicians – including pre-chart summaries, visit notes, lab requests and coding – by listening to the clinician’s conversation with their patient and seamlessly interacting with any electronic health records (EHR) system.

TORTUS has also announced a pilot with world-renowned Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), where its technology will be evaluated in clinical settings. In addition, TORTUS becomes the first UK-based company to achieve the NHS DTAC standard of compliance for this AI technology. 

With the help of O.S.L.E.R., clinicians are able to give their full attention to patients during the consultation. By removing the need to sit behind a computer or manually type notes and letters, clinicians reclaim valuable face time with patients and their families. 

“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,” said co-founder and CEO Dr Dom Pimenta. “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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Led by Khosla Ventures, the seed round also included Entrepreneur First, former NHS chair Lord David Prior, and other investors. Eric Jang, VP of AI at 1X Technologies, also joined as chief scientific advisor.

The new funds will be used to accelerate the development and compliance of the O.S.L.E.R. agent, broadening its current capabilities to include performing important tasks such as placing prescription orders and adding diagnoses and coding to the system.

The company will also focus on expansion into additional hospitals and primary care organisations, with a number of primary care sites already set to go live in February 2024.

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TORTUS’s partnership with GOSH involves a multi-phase research study. In an early phase of the study, the tool was tested in simulated consultations with real GOSH clinicians and actors playing the role of patients. 

GOSH is now evaluating the tool on the hospital floor, with a cohort of clinicians trialling using O.S.L.E.R. in outpatient clinics, to assist with the documentation of notes and letters. Data on the technology’s impact on patient experience and clinical workload will be collected and analysed by researchers. 

TORTUS is also in the early stages of partnering with other healthcare organisations across the UK, Canada and the United States.

Lord Prior, who is also a former health minister, said: “The UK has some of the most innovative, exciting HealthTech 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.”

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