What started as a patient-centric solution, quickly transformed into a comprehensive transplant care solution – that’s the story of GridSense Health, a platform that integrates technology with the complex process of transplant care, keeping in mind the needs of patients, transplant care centers, and transplant surgeons.
In conversation with Anita Kulkarni Puranik, the founder of GridSense Health, we learned how the platform addresses the intricacies of the daunting organ transplant procedure, simplifying processes for transplant care centers and doctors by incorporating machine learning and technology – adding a tremendous amount of value to the lives of transplant patients.
Q. The most basic yet intriguing question first – what’s the vision behind GridSense Health? I had a personal encounter with organ transplant in my family and realized how fragmented and complex the area of transplant care is. By the time a patient is diagnosed with end-stage organ failure, their past medical records run into many thousands of pages – making it an extremely data-intensive area. When doctors need to treat the patients, not having accurate patient conditions and history can lead to delays in treatment, complications, and can sometimes lead to loss of life. In creating GridSense Health, we set out to address these challenges that the doctors and the patients face.
Q. How does GridSense Health touch different aspects of organ transplant with technology?
There’s an enormous amount of data because patients are being treated at multiple cities and hospitals, and the onus of completeness of patient records lies on patients in order to ensure there’s care continuity. Addressing this challenge, we focused on the tools we have in data harmonization and data aggregation. We also invested a tremendous amount of energy in understanding the domain, the nitty-gritty of transplant care treatment protocol – by talking to transplant surgeons, attending multiple conferences, engaging with a lot of experts. After a thorough understanding of the transplant care guidelines and protocols, we automated them through workflows, ensuring timely reminders for patients and doctors. We also turned this into a kind of decision support system for doctors by applying a lot of machine learning to treatment protocols. With GridSense, we also automated the transplant guidelines that were published by a team of experts in Europe (its most downloaded paper in the transplant society journal), making them a part of the doc and patient apps, hence, enhancing their usability.
Q. If you were to bring out the most important aspect of GridSense Health, what would it be?
The non-intrusive way in which we collect the patient data and the focus on clinical decision support are the two USPs of GridSense Health. Ensuring the completeness of patients' health records and giving them a chance to report symptoms or daily observations by integrating the platform with several devices such as the Apple Watch, addresses issues that might appear trivial but require attention.
Picking up indications from the patients’ symptoms and diagnostics, we generate their risk profiles. Through machine learning intelligence running in the background, the system automatically analyzes patients’ data and keeps prompting doctors about areas that need attention in a patient’s risk profile.
Q. GridSense Health was recently selected by Apple for their Entrepreneur Camp, congratulations! How did this develop?
Apple eCamp is an initiative by Apple to encourage women entrepreneurs. They invite applications from across the globe and select apps for their vision and impact. From hundreds of applications, they picked 12 women lead companies and we were one of them! It was an engaging experience though it had to be virtual this time. We were selected in April and then the pandemic broke, so, we couldn’t go to Cupertino where it is usually held at Apple’s campus.
Q. Tell us all about your Apple eCamp experience…
It was a thoroughly engaging and overwhelming experience for us. We had a preparatory call with Apple where they explored our key focus areas in terms of technology and design, our priorities, and then mapped people from their technologies and imaginism teams with our interest. During the camp, our apps were thoroughly reviewed for design and tech framework – after which they shared appreciation as well as suggestions for improvement. Getting appreciated by Apple added a lot of power and made us feel even more confident about our endeavors.
Q. We see that GridSense brings together experts, how did you get them on board?
The transplant doctors who are our knowledge partners are extremely talented and renowned the world over. Despite their extremely busy schedules, they gave us their time because they sensed the uniqueness of the proposition, the sincerity of the whole cause and that we understood the problem like no one else. 4 other team members, apart from me have the first-hand experience with end-stage organ failure in their families – so all of us understand what it takes to be in this space and be a caregiver.
Q. We would love to know about the GridSense team, what brought you all together?
Atul Saraf, the co-founder of GridSense is always thinking about products – how to keep them simple, beautiful, complete, and most importantly, impactful. Design thinking is his passion and he brings a lot of simplicity and aesthetic value to our apps. Sunita Shetty heads our business development arm and brings to the table, tremendous experience in marketing communication. She thinks and breaths company and is someone who I can rely on. All our intellectual power comes from Dr. Dilip Puranik who holds a Ph.D. in physics and brings in a lot of algorithmic insight. We also have a small yet extremely dedicated technical team that always thinks out of the box and is well-known for its on-time delivery of each project that it’s entrusted with.
Q. Extentia and you share a long relationship, how has the journey been?
The kind of trust that we have and the support we get from Extentia is amazing. We share a long relationship, where, in moments of crisis, Umeed and Chetan have been the people who I turn to. Extentia has helped us in many different ways – giving us resources and opportunities, opening their network, and introducing us to their clients. All this has constantly strengthened our bond and I look forward to a continued association with Extentia, sharing moments both bright and dull!
Q. What lies ahead for GridSense Health?
GridSense Health had started as an India-centric solution, but, as I presented the solution at some organ transplant conferences in India which are also attended by international faculty, it came to me as a complete surprise when a senior surgeon in the US told me that what you are addressing with GridSense is not an India-specific problem but is exists the world over. With that in mind, we have reaching out to a larger market and are soon rolling out our solution to a leading university hospital in the US. In the next two years, we will be focusing on India and the US as our two key markets. We will also be expanding the solution to cover other critical chronic care scenarios, starting with cancer care.
Know more about GridSense Health here.
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