Written by Seamus Kelleher.
Treating chronic wounds such as bedsores and ulcers is an expensive, time intensive process. Those affected, mostly the elderly and diabetics, are faced with the logistical headache and financial burden of frequently visiting treatment centers. If left untreated, patients run the risk of infection, amputation or in worst cases, death. Med-Compliance IQ in Columbus, Ohio, wants to reduce these recurring costs using an efficient, smartphone-driven solution.
“There are major inefficiencies in the treatment of chronic wounds and we felt we could simplify the process. Patients should ideally be seen about once a week for as long as 4 months to track healing, but such frequent trips to wound centers are difficult.” said Gary Ross, CEO of Med-Compliance IQ. “That’s tough on any patient, especially elderly or diabetic patients. We saw an opportunity to simplify treatment using technology most patients and physicians already have — smartphones.”
Med-Compliance’s WoundWise IQ allows patients to capture an image of the wound right on their smartphones, no special camera needed. The technology then analyzes characteristics such as the area and color of the wound, and measures any changes against past visits, presenting indicators of the healing process and providing valuable information to patients and healthcare practitioners.
“This technology moves us closer to telemedicine, where patients will receive diagnosis and treatment for certain issues remotely,” said Ross. “If you’re in a nursing home, simply take a picture with your mobile device and our system will analyze it. That cuts out a lot of time, hassle and cost associated with getting into a wound care facility.”
Ross served as a Technical Advisor for startups at Rev1 Ventures, a central Ohio partner of Ohio Third Frontier. Through his involvement at Rev1, Ross heard about an exciting new technology being developed at The Ohio State University, the wound care recognition software eventually known as WoundWise IQ. Ross became interested and requested an introduction with the inventors. They shared an enthusiasm for the product’s potential and founded Med-Compliance IQ in January 2016.
Med-Compliance IQ was awarded a Technology Validation and Start-up Fund (TVSF) grant in October 2016 from Ohio Third Frontier to protect its intellectual property and further develop the WoundWise IQ technology. In addition, the company received funding support and mentorship from Rev1 throughout the startup process, support Ross credits as invaluable.
“Rev1 has been incredible. They’ve really helped by leading our funding efforts and introducing us to the right people,” said Ross. “Their coaches are very supportive with anything we need. Whether it’s advice, support for an event, help writing a grant we’re applying for, whatever— they’re there. It’s been a great team effort.”
Med-Compliance IQ is considering new possibilities for additional products aimed at simplifying healthcare processes for patients and practitioners alike. For now, though, they’re focusing on the challenge at hand, the further development of their WoundWise IQ technology. Ross understands the rigors of the startup world and is determined to make Med-Compliance IQ a success.
“You’ve got to be relentless as a startup team. There are so many hurdles you’ll face, competitors who want to beat you to market,” said Ross. “It’s a daily challenge and there’ll be doubts, but you’ve got to keep swinging, maintain your enthusiasm and push forward with what you believe in. The success you eventually achieve will all be worth it.”