Healthtech startup Teton.ai is on a mission to overcome a major healthcare crisis: the overwhelming burden resting on nurses’ shoulders. The Danish team has just scored about €4.8 million ($5.3 million) to scale its AI-based solution.
Nursing shortages are hitting countries right around the world, with up to 13 million vacancies predicted by 2030. Last year, the International College of Nurses called the lack of available nurses in the workforce a new “global health crisis”, and the situation is spiralling.
While nurses deal with short-staffed wards, they are faced with demanding shifts, surmounting patients care, and a growing amount of admin work to keep up with.
Through digital transformation, new tech-based solutions are being developed to help remove some of the burdens. Healthtech is a rapidly growing market and startups are certainly leading the way when it comes to impactful innovation in this space.
Aiming to tap into this market, Teton.ai acts as an AI companion for nurses to help monitor patients and optimise workflows. The Danish healthtech has just secured €4.8 million ($5.3 million) in a new funding round led by Plural. Strategic angels including Finn Murphy, formerly at Frontline Ventures, also joined Plural in investing in Teton.
Founded in 2020 by Mikkel Wad Thorsen (CEO) and Esben Klint Thorius (CTO), Teton.ai was born from a realisation that the healthcare technology revolution was overlooking the needs and workflows of key caregivers including nurses and care assistants.
Mikkel Wad Thorsen, co-founder and CEO of Teton.ai: “Countries across the world are facing problems with staff shortages in both hospitals and the wider care sector. This problem is only getting bigger with pressures mounting to provide high-quality care to a growing ageing population. Our AI solution, which has privacy integrated into the design, gives nurses more time to take care of patients and residents, without burdening their workload. We’re excited about the impact this will have globally and look forward to working with the Plural team to help us scale up and expand in the next few years.”
Its AI assistant gives an overview of what is happening on the ward, giving nurses and caregivers an extra set of eyes. It alerts nurses when care is needed, is capable of monitoring sleep and gives fall warnings. Smart cameras are installed onwards which can scan the room for updates and patient activity.
The system was trained using hospital data sets as well as feedback from nurses to provide the right support for clinicians facing high volumes of work.
The cameras use computer vision to understand the patient’s status and communicate relevant information back to staff. This will include sleep tracking to minimise having to wake a patient, bed sore or ulcer warnings and mobilisation reminders to move patients regularly, fall warnings with alerts for high-risk situations and regular documentation of activities to reduce the administrative pressure on nurses. To ensure patient confidentiality and privacy, analysis takes place within a closed system and no personal data is uploaded to a central server.
The startup aims to use technology to eliminate unnecessary and sometimes false alarms by providing real-time alerts for nurses when a patient’s behaviour requires direct or critical care.
In Denmark, Teton.ai is already working with hospitals including Nykøbing Falster Hospital and Næstved Hospital. It’s proving a particularly useful piece of the night shift, where there are often only one or two staff present on the ward and more pressure on a solo carer. In early trials of the technology at hospitals and care homes across Denmark, Teton’s nurse assistant has helped to reduce the night shift workload by 25% giving nurses more control and more time for their patients.
The European medtech market was worth €150 billion in 2021 and is second only to the US in size and demand – and Teton.ai want to make its mark in this space.
With this new investment, the startup plans to expand beyond its home market of Denmark to the wider Nordic region, as well as further into Europe including Germany, the UK and the US. Eventually, the company will build a full virtual nurse to support critical healthcare workers wherever they are in the hospital.
Taavet Hinrikus, who led the investment round at Plural Platform: “Growing demand from an ageing population and shortage of supply of trained staff are the two big issues creating challenges in healthcare systems around the world. In line with Plural’s ambition to solve hard problems, we see huge potential for Teton.ai as a European-founded company building an AI-assisted technology platform to support nurses to provide better patient care. Teton’s mission is vital and we are thrilled to be working closely with Mikkel, Esben and the team.”