Health kiosk operator Higi has announced that British-based chatbot company Babylon is leading a $30 million Series B funding round that will support Higi’s expansion of its network and help it to further develop its digital assessment capabilities.
Higi’s kiosks allow users to measure and track metrics such as blood pressure, weight and body mass index (BMI), and with over 10,000 of their free-to-use ‘smart health stations’ located in grocery stores, drug stores and community centers, the company says it has a presence within five miles of 73% of the U.S. population.
To date, more than 62 million people have completed over 335 million biometric assessments using the kiosks, and with help from partners such as Kroger, Giant Eagle, and Rite Aid.
“Higi and Babylon have a shared focus on democratizing access and affordability in healthcare,” said Brian Skiba, vice president of corporate development at Babylon, in an interview with FierceHealthcare.
“The U.S. healthcare system is simply too expensive and it’s hard for consumers to access care,” Higi CEO Jeff Bennett added. “Higi’s stations make healthcare more accessible to people by providing services in locations that are part of people’s day-to-day lives, such as visiting the grocery or drug store.”
In addition to its retail partners, Higi also has partnerships with digital health companies allowing them to target their programs to specific segments of the population. One such partnership is with startup Papa, which aims to provide health screenings and assessments for the elderly.
As part of its investment, Babylon will be integrating some of its digital services into Higi’s kiosks that will offer support to customers suffering from acute medical problems and chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity, and Higi has stated plans to add more sensors and devices into its stations in order to support this effort.
“Babylon and Higi’s offerings place greater emphasis on prevention and tackling issues earlier, helping millions of people proactively tend to their health and connect them to the information and medical support they need,” said Babylon CEO and founder Ali Parsa.
As a result of the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, greater emphasis is being placed on remote and digital healthcare solutions. With people all across the world subject to lockdown and social distancing restrictions in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus, many people aren’t able to make regular trips to the hospital or their local health clinic to treat their various conditions.
Solutions such as Higi’s accessible kiosk could be a major benefit in this current climate, allowing people to receive medical assessments while keeping them out of potentially crowded and overburdened hospitals.
May 28, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis