Conversations between people and their doctors are full of important insights — but actually acting on them can be another story altogether. People say they tend to remember the beginning and end of conversations with doctors, but the details of their care plan are often lost. In fact, we’ve talked to thousands of people about their healthcare experiences over the past few years, and the overwhelming majority told us that they forgot more than 40 percent of their conversations with doctors. That can make it really hard to follow up on these important conversations, much less actually be proactive about our health.

Two years ago, we started thinking about ways to help change this dynamic by empowering people to understand and follow up on their health. We realized that if we could just help them capture and reflect on their health conversations, then we could actually make it easier to understand and act on their care. 

So we built Abridge, to help people record, reflect, and follow through on their health conversations. At the time, it felt like a pretty simple solution to something that clearly impacted a lot of people. But what we learned over the last year is that Abridge is so much more than just the act of recording or reviewing a conversation. It turns out that when we look back on what has already happened, we can actually move forward with our care. Abridge brings critical understanding and gives people peace of mind that the details of their care will be readily accessible, anytime and anywhere.

“It turns out that when we look back on what has already happened, we can actually move forward with our care."

To date, more than 50,000 people have started using our service to get the big picture across every aspect of their health. Our machine learning has helped identify over 48,000 conversation takeaways — the parts where next steps are discussed — to make it easy to follow up and remember what happened during an appointment at-a-glance. And using trusted sources like the Mayo Clinic, we’ve defined more than 400,000 medical terms to demystify the jargon, in context, without requiring people to do extra research just to understand their health. Countless families have also depended on Abridge to keep loved ones in the loop when they can’t be present for every visit. 

Tons of personalized, compassionate care happens in the interactions between people and their doctors. But the reality is that care doesn’t just happen in the clinic. For many of us, the most important part of the journey happens between visits, when we reflect on conversations, decide on next steps, or share with family, friends, and other providers. Abridge is meant to connect all the dots — all the conversations — you have along the way. 

That’s why people use Abridge for every type of appointment and healthcare interaction, from routine visits to specialist appointments to annual exams. Again and again, we’ve heard that people love Abridge because it helps them stay on top of their health. Through a better understanding of their doctor’s advice, Abridge enables better follow through, from the high-level care plan down to the details of their diagnoses, procedures, or medications.

“People use Abridge for every type of appointment and healthcare interaction, from routine visits to specialist appointments to annual exams."

Today, we’re officially launching Abridge to the world to help more people understand and follow through on their health. Our recent $15 million in funding — from investors like Union Square Ventures, Pillar, Bessemer Partners, KDT Ventures, as well as from hospital systems like UPMC — will enable us to continue to build a great product, hire amazing talent, and help more people. (We just told our story to Forbes, and you can check it out here.)

With your feedback, we're continuing to improve Abridge all the time. Just in the past few weeks, we redesigned our home screen, so it directs you toward the best next step. We’ve added reminders to help you remember to use Abridge for your next appointment. And as the world changed in response to COVID, we strengthened our support for telehealth to loop in loved ones who can no longer join appointments due to visitor restrictions.

We believe that health care is personal. It is human. And we think that technology can enrich the best parts of these experiences, enabling people to have better conversations, establish stronger rapport, and build trust. We recognize that improving healthcare takes partnership from everyone, from individuals to their families to their care teams. We’re committed to continuing to work on new ways for people to share and co-create the health record with their care team using Abridge and to help people understand and follow-through on their care. We’re deeply thankful to everyone who has supported us so far — but this is just the first chapter of our journey. We can’t wait for what’s next.

health conversations
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About the Author
Shiv Rao, MD
CEO, Co-Founder

Shiv Rao, MD is the co-founder and CEO of Abridge, a company focused on bringing context and understanding to every medical conversation. He is also a faculty member and practicing cardiologist at UPMC’s Heart and Vascular Institute.

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