Zuub Raises $9M in a Series A Funding Round

Zuub Raises $9M in a Series A Funding Round
Screens: Zuub’s platform aims to automate portions of the dental office.

Zuub, a Playa Vista-based dental software startup, announced last week it raised $9 million in series A funding to streamline the insurance verification process.

The round was led by Palo Alto-based Vertical Venture Partners, with additional participation from existing investors Bonfire Ventures and MTech Capital, both based in Santa Monica.

Zuub uses automation and artificial general intelligence to make it easier for administrative staff to verify insurance, provide payment options and turn technical medical notes into easy-to-understand treatment plans for patients.

“This funding will enable us to accelerate our growth and develop innovative solutions that help dental practices operate more efficiently and provide transparent pricing to their patients,” Zuub Chief Executive Luka Sklizovic said in a statement.

The administrative load in health care

The non-patient-facing aspect of health care is time consuming – medical professionals have to thoroughly document interactions for insurance companies and to mitigate the risk of medical lawsuits. They also have to liaise with payers, pharmacies and specialists while providing quality and timely care to patients.

Most administrative work in the industry has been done manually because it requires a lot of judgment. According to Zuub, dental offices waste an average of 20-40 hours a week navigating insurance portals and calling providers just to verify insurance.

Another obstacle is billing codes. In order to get insurance to pay for treatments, health care organizations used to have to manually translate each diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plan into a set of billing codes. But the process requires consideration – if the doctor determines someone’s ailment is mild, the billing code can be different from a severe version of the same ailment.

When billing technology was first standardized in the medical field, the billing process became almost too easy – doctors faced pressure to document every part of patient interaction and squeeze as many billing codes out of each appointment as they could, leading to hours of administrative work per patient and increasing burnout in the medical profession.

AI startups combating the problem

The development of sophisticated artificial general intelligence has paved the way for a slew of health care administration startups to rise up to combat burnout by taking care of tedious administrative tasks. Companies similar to Zuub include North Hollywood-based Yapi and Irvine-based Planet DDS, all of which tackle administrative responsibilities in the dental industry with the goal of allowing providers to see more patients or spend more time them.

Others, like Del Ray-based Regard, use AI to scan patient data and suggest diagnoses, as well as generate accurate clinician notes that make billing easier. Regard raised an undisclosed amount of series B funding earlier in June, per Pitchbook. In March, the company partnered with the Arizona-based health organization Banner Health, which deployed Regard’s platform in its 33 hospitals.

Nate Wilson, Regard’s cofounder and chief operating officer, said in a statement that the partnership would “address care team burnout and ensure their patients receive the best care, by surfacing critical information that exists within the (Electronic Medical Record).”

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