Infinitus uses “voice RPA” to become the machine-generated voice that makes calls from, say, healthcare providers or pharmacies to insurance companies to go through a series of questions (directed at humans at the other end) that typically need to be answered before payments are authorized and other procedures can take place.
The startup is coming out of “stealth mode” today but it has been around for a couple of years already and has signed on a number of large healthcare companies as customers — for example, the wholesale drug giant AmerisourceBergen — and is in some cases contributing its technology to public health efforts around the current coronavirus pandemic, with one organization currently using it to automate a mass calling system across several states to get a better idea of vaccine available to help connect the earliest doses with the most vulnerable groups that need them the fastest.
It made 75,000 calls on behalf of 12,000 providers in January alone.
Infinitus’ public launch is also coming with a funding kicker: it has picked up $21.4 million in Series A funding from a group of big-name investors to build the business.
The problem that Infinitus is addressing is the fact that healthcare, in particular in the privatized U.S. market, has a lot of time-consuming and often confusing red tape when it comes to getting things done. And a lot of the most immediate pain points of that process can be found in voice calls, which are the primary basis of critical communications between different entities in the ecosystem.
Voice calls are used to initiate most processes, whether it’s to obtain critical information, follow up on a form or previous communication, or pass on some data, or of course provide clearance for payment.
There are 900 million calls of these kinds made in the U.S., with the average length of each call 35 minutes, and with the average healthcare professional who works in an administrative role to make those calls dedicating some 4.5 hours each day to being on the phone.
All of this ultimately adds to the exorbitant costs of healthcare services in the U.S. (and likely some of those inscrutable lines of fees that you might see on bills), not to mention delays in giving care. (And those volumes underscore just what a small piece Infinitus touches today.)
You might wonder, why hasn’t the healthcare industry just moved past voice altogether? Surely there are ways of exchanging data between entities so that calls could become obsolete? Turns out that at least for now that isn’t something that will change quickly, Jain said.
Part of it is because the fragmentation in the market means it’s hard to implement new standards across the board, covering hundreds of insurance payers, healthcare providers, pharmaceutical groups, billing and collections organisations and more. And when it comes down to it, a phone call ends up being the easiest route for many admins who might have to typically deal with 100 different payment companies and other entities, each with a different logging mechanism. “It’s a lot of cognitive load, so it’s often easier to just pick up the phone,” Jain said.
Bringing in voiceRPA like Infinitus’s is part of that long haul to update the bigger system.