VideaHealth is a venture-backed company developing artificial intelligence (AI) that helps dental clinicians more effectively and confidently detect potential signs of oral disease. Pulse 2.0 interviewed company founder and CEO Florian Hillen to learn more.
Florian Hillen’s Background
Hillen founded the company in 2018 and previously conducted research for MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems and Society and Harvard Business School.
“I also worked for McKinsey & Company and founded Ninu, a digital health tech startup. My education includes two master’s degrees from MIT in Computer Science and Technology and Policy, a bachelor’s in Management and Technology, and completion of the first State exam in Medicine,” said Hillen.
Formation Of VideaHealth
How did the idea for VideaHealth come together?
“Prior to VideaHealth, I was researching the potential use of AI in radiology, dermatology, ophthalmology, and biology. It was clear that AI had a huge role to play in every industry, and in earlier days, I quickly came to realize that oral health is the gateway to better physical health – and AI was the key to delivering a higher level of dental care,” Hillen shared. “The value of AI in dentistry can’t be overstated. Until recently, diagnoses were subjective and, therefore, less accurate and data-driven. In fact, if you look at the data, dentistry has one of the highest – if not the highest – rates of missed instances of disease. This can largely be attributed to dentists having a wide range of expertise, along with diagnostic capabilities that can be influenced by external factors that range from equipment quality to room lighting. As a result, 10 different dentists could provide 10 different diagnoses to the same patient.”
Missed cavities, abscesses, lesions, and oral diseases could evolve into much larger problems when untreated. And while studies link poor oral health with other chronic diseases, dental decay, and disease are 100% preventable.
“That said, with the right dental care, the risk of medical complications from diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses can be significantly decreased,” Hillen continued. “I was excited about the possibilities, and with my research and work at MIT, I was in a good position to start VideaHealth. MIT provided the first $50,000 in funding the summer after I graduated from their Master’s program. Well before dental AI was commercially viable, I had designed the technology encapsulated in Patent no. 11,553,874, which covers dental image feature detection powered by machine learning. This is what helps dentists detect diseases on images and matches those findings to patient records. And it’s the critical concept that’s driving today’s dental AI technologies.”
What are some of the challenges Hillen faced and has the current macroeconomic climate affected the company? “The industry is evolving rapidly and it’s being driven by AI. We already have a powerful technology, and as AI developers and knowledge is shared, we’ll be in the position to build upon that proven foundation and produce even stronger results. We’re offering meaningful value to dentists and patients, delivering AI-powered insights that were virtually unavailable until late last year. The appetite in the market has been incredible as dental clinicians and their patients experience the value of dental AI firsthand,” Hillen explained. “Additionally, when we raised our Series A in the spring of last year it gave enough runway to build out our team to keep pace with demand. Our relationship with Henry Schein offers us a large distribution channel, whereby we are able to get our technology into exponentially more practices than we could reach through direct efforts. It is a pretty significant achievement for an early-stage startup like ours. As we look to the future it is worth noting that AI remains one of the hottest sectors in technology, and we’re very well positioned. In many ways, these factors have inoculated us to some of the more negative economic shifts in the market.”
What are VideaHealth’s core products and features? VideaAI’s dental AI platform includes X-ray AI image analysis tools to help identify signs of potential carious lesions (cavities) and measure radiographic bone levels. And it also enables providers to track disease progression over time and identify other dental conditions such as periapical radiolucent lesions (PRL), calculus, and more.
“Our FDA-cleared caries findings AI leverages medical algorithms that specifically help dentists identify cavities. This has been shown to reduce false positives by 15%. What’s more, an FDA study shows it improves diagnostic accuracy for 100% of dentists who use the tool, regardless of their level of experience,” Hillen revealed. “Our radiographic bone level findings tool is FDA-cleared, too, and that provides insight into highly specific, quantitative measures of intraoral radiographs. This tool annotates X-rays and uses color codes to clearly illustrate bone level measurements. By using these tools, dentists can spot over 30% more dental conditions, all while building patient relationships with compelling visual aids and precise treatment recommendations. VideaAI’s easy-to-understand visual aids layer in a much-needed level of transparency that increases patient trust and treatment acceptance, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes.”
Evolution Of VideaHealth’s Technology
How has VideaHealth’s technology evolved since launching? “We purposely designed VideaAI as an evolving platform, one that could continually enhance existing modules and tools so dentists and Dental Service Organizations (DSOs) can deliver state-of-the-art patient care and experience business growth. Our calculated and careful product development is guided by user experiences so customers are assured they get features that they need and will use. With that in mind, you can expect additional product updates in 2023,” Hillen replied.
What have been some of VideaHealth’s most significant milestones?
Hillen told me that these past five years have been a whirlwind of activity and they have been able to accomplish a great deal. Some of the more notable achievements include:
– Designing and bringing to market the technology in our patent
– Securing $20 million in a Series A fundraising round led by Spark Capital
– Receiving FDA clearance for our AI-powered Caries Assist and Perio Assist X-ray image analysis algorithms
– Welcoming major customers like Heartland Dental, 42 North, and Oak Dental Partners and helping expand access to AI-powered dentistry
– Growing their team, including the addition of dental technology veteran Tennli Nelson as vice president of business development
– Advancing their goal to positively impact the oral health of a billion people globally
– A particularly noteworthy accomplishment came last year when VideaHealth entered into a joint venture with Henry Schein One, which is the world’s largest dental service and software provider. In the initial phase, the company introduced Dentrix Detect AI, powered and manufactured by VideaHealth. This provides real-time clinical decision support to clinicians using Henry Schein’s Dentrix practice management software. Plus it works within existing workflows, and the platform automatically analyzes every image to help clinicians evaluate radiographs and more, promoting greater patient transparency.
The partnership was so well-received by solo practices that in early 2023, the company integrated VideaHealth’s AI image detection into the Dentrix Ascend practice management software used by Henry Shein’s DSO customer base. And as a result, the AI technology now has the potential to reach the hands of virtually every dentist and hygienist in the United States.
Customer Success Stories
The company is well on its way to bringing its diagnostic tools to millions of patients and tens of thousands of dentists.
“In fact, we helped dental professionals diagnose more than 200,000 patients in the first quarter of 2023 alone. We’ve had many success stories and received plenty of testimonials, the following being just a few examples,” Hillen observed.
Last year, the company secured $20 million in Series A financing – which brought the total raised to $26.4 million. And with this funding, the company was able to focus on rapid expansion and adoption among its existing and DSO customer base. Plus the company expects to be in thousands of practices by the end of this year.
Total Addressable Market
What is the total addressable market (TAM) size that VideaHealth is pursuing? “There are around 140,000 dental practices in the United States, with 20-25% being part of dental support organizations (DSOs). In the next three years, that number will climb to 30%. This is our core, direct customer base. Through Henry Schein One, we have additional access to 30,000 SMB dental practices using the company’s Dentrix practice management software,” Hillen calculated. “We also have plans for international expansion within the year, starting with Canada. But I like to stay focused on the big picture. Our vision is to ensure that a billion dental patients get access to better, more accurate, and more standardized care. Yes, this is incredibly aspirational, but our team isn’t willing to compromise on our vision.”
Differentiation From The Competition
What differentiates VideaHealth from its competition? “We started at the top, with an uncompromising focus on quality. We vetted thousands of clinicians and selected the top 5% to train our AI and build the VideaFactory. This means dental clinicians who use our AI are backed by a team of world-class experts,” Hillen pointed out. “As a part of our early process, we listened closely to what dentists wanted and needed to make dental AI a success for them. This practice continues as we deploy VideaAI in dental offices across the US. As such, we’ve expanded our capabilities beyond caries detection into periodontal disease assessment and historical image analysis that illuminates disease progression. Since dental AI was a net-new concept for dentists, we focused on educating the market after securing FDA clearance. Our team did a great job of showcasing why dental AI, and VideaAI, could help their practices and their patients.”
Another differentiator is that the company is all about delivering a strong return on investment (ROI). Right from day one, VideaAI effortlessly streamlines office workflows, enhances diagnostics, and improves patient outcomes. And the company can prove it with measurable AI. By connecting the production data with AI utilization, we’re able to demonstrate real results.
Finally, the company offers world-class support to take customers through the change management process and ensure a smooth implementation of our technology so clinics and DSOs fully realize the benefits of diagnostic dental AI and achieve accelerated practice growth. Most importantly, VideaHealth thoroughly educates and trains providers and users on how to best leverage VideaAI and maximize treatment opportunities.
Future Company Goals
What are some of VideaHealth’s future company goals? “Foremost, we have an ambitious vision to positively impact the oral health of a billion people across the globe. Chronic disease rates are astronomical in the United States, a situation exacerbated by oral health issues such as gum disease,” Hillen concluded. “We want to break down care gaps between the mouth and the rest of the body, advancing medical-dental integration (MDI) to stave off systemic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s. AI is proving instrumental in supercharging the abilities of dental clinicians to detect diseases and allow early intervention, which can transform whole-body health for widespread populations. We’re helping patients receive more accurate, effective, and transparent dental care right now – and we’re excited about the impact we’ll have in the coming years.”