UC Davis Health CoLab Incubator announces first startup — WellCent
Company provides at-home platform to make digital health resources more accessible to patients and caregivers
WellCent, the first startup to come out of the UC Davis Health CoLab Innovation Technology Incubator, was introduced in January at the UC Davis Health Future & Health CEO Summit.
The new company, founded by Chrysanthy Demos, M.B.A., has developed a platform to equip patients and caregivers with validated medical devices and resources, making care at home straightforward and seamless. WellCent’s integrated care platform filters resources and provides training to make innovations in health care easy to use and understand.
“Family members and friends who are caregivers play a critical role in the health of our patients,” said David Lubarsky, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.S.A., CEO of UC Davis Health and vice chancellor of human health sciences. “They represent an invisible frontline of health care, and companies like WellCent will offer much needed services to help and support these caregivers, and patients caring for themselves, with innovative and smart home-enabled solutions.”
UC Davis Health is a leader in developing innovative technologies that are transforming medicine and making care more accessible to patients at home. In the last year, it created a Digital Health Equity Program to improve digital health access for vulnerable populations in Northern California, and announced a new partnership with General Catalyst to drive artificial intelligence and digital health innovations.
“With the increase in care shifting to the home setting, WellCent is prepared to be a key part of bringing families and providers together through smart homes and digitally-enabled care,” said Ashish Atreja, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., A.G.A.F., UC Davis Health’s chief information officer and chief digital health officer.
According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, more than 1 in 5 Americans has provided care to an adult or child with medical needs in the past 12 months. This totals an estimated 53 million adults, an increase of 9.5 million from five years prior.
“WellCent is reinventing home health care, by translating new digital health technologies and making them more equitable and accessible to the community,” said Demos, who serves as WellCent’s CEO. “Digital innovations in medicine are the future of health care and we are proud to be collaborating with UC Davis Health on this transformation, as they are leading the charge in developing the future of digital health.”
WellCent is a latest initiative from UC Davis Health to advance digital medicine through its Digital CoLab (Digital Collaborative for Innovation and Validation) and the first startup to have come from its incubator. The Digital CoLab is led by Keisuke Nakagawa, M.D., its director of innovation and the executive director of the Cloud Innovation Center. The program is the AI and digital health innovation hub for UC Davis Health.
“Startups like WellCent play a critical role in expanding our health system’s innovation ecosystem,” said Yauheni Solad, M.D., M.H.S., M.B.A., UC Davis Health’s chief medical information officer for digital health and vice president of innovation. “They represent a key part of our strategy to accelerate innovations that we incubate at UC Davis Health that ultimately can scale nationally.”
Digital medicine collaboration with General Catalyst
UC Davis Health and General Catalyst announced a new collaboration last fall to develop a digital transformation strategy. UC Davis Health will utilize the General Catalyst ecosystem of companies to drive artificial intelligence (AI) and digital health innovations in several areas, including health care delivery, research, education, and public service, as well as the medical center’s ongoing transformational efforts in operations, care and outcomes. Central to the collaboration is a mutual commitment to knowledge-sharing, which will explore collaboration opportunities, co-development of new businesses and co-development of products, services, and technologies by leveraging UC Davis Health as an innovation center.
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UC Davis Health and AI (artificial intelligence) software company Illuminate have developed a centralized abdominal aortic aneurysm surveillance program that identifies at-risk AAA patients who may have been “lost to follow up” because they missed care due to the pandemic or other factors. In its first six months, the program identified over 11,000 patients with some mention of AAA who could benefit from monitoring; over 10,000 patients were reviewed and 1,119 patients who were lost to care entered active surveillance and management by nurse navigators. Of those, 81 patients visited UC Davis Health, which resulted in 146 imaging studies, one angiogram, and 10 life-saving AAA surgical procedures.
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Aiming to improve health outcomes and reduce hospital readmissions, the Comprehensive COPD Clinic at UC Davis Health has created the first remote patient monitoring program in the Sacramento region for high-risk patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a condition with high readmissions rates. The program enrolls up to 12 patients at any time, who are given a pulse oximeter and asked a daily question about symptoms; data and responses are uploaded to a dashboard on the patient’s electronic health record and monitored daily by respiratory therapists. When data filters trigger alarms about concerning symptoms, the therapists reach out to provide care and guidance.
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