SAP.iO Foundries: Healthcare Startups Transform Pandemic Response

Healthcare startups are challenging longtime industry practices and assumptions, transforming everything from patient care to organizational efficiencies.

Two entrepreneurs recently participated in the latest healthcare-focused accelerator program at SAP.iO Foundry New York and shared their respective missions to help patients and providers in a vastly changed healthcare landscape.

Real-Time Intelligence Improves Time Management

Applying computer science and systems thinking to improve people’s lives has been a central tenet of Kishau Rogers’ career as an engineer and computer scientist. The COVID-19 pandemic has only amped up the mission behind her newest venture called Time Study. More than 35 hospitals throughout the U.S. rely on the startup’s “time intelligence” cloud-based platform, which uses machine learning to track how physicians, researchers, and other healthcare employees spend their time.

“Instead of just counting hours worked, we wanted to shift the concept of timesheets to a human-centered approach, elevating opportunities to improve people’s lives at work,” Rogers said. “Many of the time management issues we were already looking at, such as data silos and complexity, have only been amplified by the pandemic.”

Time Study has helped hospitals better understand fast-changing workforce movements, whether employees were hunting for scarce personal protective equipment (PPE), jumping into different care-giving roles onsite, or providing new patient services like telehealth. Some hospitals have improved data collection and reporting times by 80 percent and increased regulatory compliance by more than 120 percent.

“Having this platform during the crisis allowed hospitals to see the immediate impact on physician satisfaction levels and performance, as well as employee activities and workflow,” Rogers explained. “Many hospitals are using this data to make resource adjustments as they uncover work performance patterns. With real-time insights, they can better align resources while meeting quality patient care and evolving compliance mandates around patient care standards and reimbursement.”

Rogers was particularly excited about Time Study’s recently launched mobile app. In addition to selecting from time entry categories, healthcare workers can use voice notes to capture tasks in the moment, upload text messages, or time themselves as they perform activities. As the algorithm learns someone’s work patterns, people can spend less time on reporting.

Data Erases Fear of the Unknown

Another startup is relying on global data to help address the breathtaking speed of the pandemic’s highly changeable path and the uniqueness of every patient. Originally conceived to automate personalized healthcare for large patient populations, Droice Labs uses its cloud-based machine learning system to provide what could amount to lifesaving insights. The startup uses natural language understanding (NLU) technology to make sense of any form of patient digital health information from anywhere, such as electronic medical records (EMR), insurance claims, scientific publications, and medical devices. This global, cross-disciplinary approach to study and analyze data seems tailor-made for researchers and other healthcare professionals who are exploring therapies and interventions.

“We can understand data in many different languages worldwide and wanted to help people in healthcare collaborate across geographies and disciplines to securely and ethically collect, share, and act on this global information,” said Mayur Saxena, chief executive officer (CEO) and founder of Droice Labs. “Healthcare leaders can use this data, and the insights derived from it, to understand the progression of the disease, replacing fear of the unknown with data-driven decisions to fight this pandemic.”

Data can help healthcare professionals answer important questions like who should be tested, which people are high-risk, and what drug treatments and other interventions are most effective. It can also help identify contributing factors to how the disease manifests in certain populations. For example, providers from five continents worldwide — including hospitals and researchers — are using the platform to identify trends such as sickness in younger patients.

“COVID-19 might be causing strokes in much younger patients who are increasingly getting the disease, which is highly unusual,” Saxena said. “Providers are adding their own data and hypotheses to determine risk factors, treatment, and prevention, as well as drawing conclusions from all the data in our system.”

Far-Reaching Impact on Healthcare Overall

Interdisciplinary collaboration is a culture shift for the healthcare industry, offering tremendous potential for more innovation through shared data and medical practices.

“Our machine learning system takes all the data about an individual into account and breaks it down so that a doctor, pharmaceutical scientist, or healthcare insurer can understand patients better and faster,” Saxena said. “Instead of repetitive, disparate, one-on-one diagnoses and follow-up care, we’re automating personalized care for a much larger patient population.”

While startups like these are applying technology to collect, share, and analyze real-time data during the pandemic, the truth is that healthcare touches every human being sooner or later. With these tools, providers can be better prepared to meet future healthcare challenges.


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This story originally appeared on SAP BrandVoice on Forbes.