Apr 7, 2022 - Business

Local health tech startup Olive overpromises

Illustration of the Olive logo as a gas gauge on empty.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Olive AI is a buzzy local startup that promises to save health systems millions of dollars by using automation software to cut costs and direct more time toward patient care.

  • But an investigation by Axios' Erin Brodwin finds Olive inflates its capabilities and has generated only a fraction of the savings it promises.

Why it matters: The Columbus-based company is valued at $4 billion, making it the highest-profile startup in health care automation.

State of play: Interviews with 16 people, including former and current employees and health tech executives, indicate concerns with the company's tech offerings, tracking of client savings and handling of sensitive patient data.

What they're saying: "There are hospitals that won't touch [Olive] because they know people who've been burned," one former employee told Axios. "And I think people don't want to admit it; there's a big sense of shame about it."

The latest: On Monday, Olive announced plans to move its headquarters from downtown to Worthington and pledged to add hundreds of jobs to its 1,400-employee workforce over the next 10 years.

  • Worthington City Council approved an incentive package Monday worth at least $1.3 million that offers the company a payroll grant for the new employees, on top of an existing tax abatement on the building it plans to buy at at 6700 North High Street.

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