How the Dayton startup wants to transform healthcare by collecting better data
How can one startup help refugees in Africa, sick patients in Uzbekistan, burned-out Air Force personnel and mothers with postpartum depression? For S.A. Wyze, the answer is more and better data. The company’s goal is to transform global healthcare for the world’s most vulnerable populations by using wearable technology that provides critical information to healthcare providers like fatigue, infection and more.
“Today, data being gathered from wearables is only providing limited information, so our approach is to turn that information into meaningful insights that lead to personalized action and impact,” said Chris Wimmer, president of S.A. Wyze. “We’re aiming for a real, concrete way to follow up and measure our action to see if it’s actually working. These wearable devices bring an accessible option to a population that wouldn’t otherwise use them.”
S.A. Wyze is still in its early stages, testing its equipment and gathering as much data as possible. But the company has already begun to forge partnerships across the globe, finding ways to gather helpful data while also testing their platform, which uses a sensor-packed armband to send health information to a smartphone app that then processes the data.
“In the far north of Cameroon, in an area where Boko Haram runs rampant, we introduced our sensors to health officials and community health workers. We worked with an organization that sets up mobile clinics and sees anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 patients in a five-day period,” said Wimmer. “We’re also in Uzbekistan working on launching a project related to infectious diseases. These assessment missions are critical for gathering important information to develop our capabilities.”
Humanitarian crises and refugee situations may be a logical use of the company’s technology, but S.A. Wyze wants to reinforce that mental health disorders are a crisis too. And Wimmer believes there’s just as much important work to do at home as abroad. The company’s goal is to use their data to provide advanced screenings for more effective treatments.
“We’re in a unique period in time where the stigma of mental health is slowly being reduced globally, along with advances in technology and support around mental health,” said Wimmer. “Our team believes there’s a unique opportunity to begin addressing mental-health conditions using our platform, and when we talk about vulnerable populations, we’re not just talking about Sub-Saharan Africa or central Asia.”
To make an impact on the mental-health field, S.A. Wyze is starting with two very different demographics: Air Force members and pregnant women.
“Air Force operators and analysts arrive, work and leave in dark conditions and conduct missions that really put stressors on them. That’s a vulnerable population too, and we’re mindful about the people and the impact on both the cognitive and physical side of an individual,” Wimmer said. “And we’re not just looking at burnout in military personnel. We’re looking at women’s health and addressing advanced screening for prenatal and postpartum depression in pregnant women. Women’s health is a major focus, and we want to support both the newborn and the mom.”
Just as the company’s focus is on global issues, the S.A. Wyze business model looks globally as well. And for that worldwide focus, Wimmer said the company sees its Dayton home as a base for innovating and collaborating.
“Ohio is ripe for startups; there’s this innovative environment that’s been established in the state,” said Wimmer. “My firm belief is that we’re in a world now where collaboration is key, and that you can’t solve these problems on your own. There are brilliant minds everywhere, not just in Silicon Valley or New York or Ohio. We want to bring them all together in Dayton to learn and grow with one another.”