This week, UC Davis Health announced the first launch to exit its health technology incubator. The company named WellCentis a platform that enables patients and their caregivers to turn on medical devices in their home and access digital health resources.
The startup was founded by Chrysanthy Demos, former CEO of Sacramento-based real estate developer AKT Development. Her extensive experience in housing and land management helped spark the idea for her to create WellCent, Ashish Atreya, UC Davis Health’s chief information officer and chief digital health officer, said in an interview.
“When people think about new homes, they talk about how many bedrooms, bathrooms and living rooms there are, but nobody talks about how many health rooms or health spaces the home has,” he pointed out.
WellCent’s platform not only helps people adopt medical devices (such as remote patient monitoring technology or physical therapy equipment) into their home, but also connects caregivers to the patient’s home so they can monitor how their loved one is doing . The startup provides patients and their caregivers with educational resources to make the process of implementing new health technologies into their daily lives less intimidating and confusing.
The platform also includes telehealth tools that allow patients to communicate with their care teams in hospitals and clinics, Atreja said.
The startup is still in its infancy, but Atreya said the startup’s ultimate vision is to ensure that homes have spaces dedicated to health, equipped with medical devices and digital health tools. He called this a “paradigm shift” because the majority of homes in the country do not have rooms or space focused on maintaining or improving health. WellCent is currently working on developing packages for both new homes and existing homes that create this special health space, Atreya said.
There is a tremendous amount of innovation in the home health industry—some examples of companies in the space include Medical home, MedArrive and Tomorrow Health. Atreha said WellCent can differentiate itself from other companies because it is uniquely focused on ease of use and making creating a home health space as seamless as possible.
WellCent is the first startup to emerge from UC Davis’ innovation incubator, but Atreja said it won’t be the last. The incubator launched about a year ago to accelerate the development of digital health technologies to make healthcare more accessible and equitable.
“We take all the new innovations that happen that are in line with our mission and we test them to validate them,” Atreja said. “If they’re good, then we can bring it into our ecosystem. It’s like a sandbox approach.”
However, the incubator is not solely focused on creating startups. It is focused on validating concepts and technologies – no matter what stage they are at. Atreja announced that the incubator was launched because of UC Davis’ mission as a public organization, saying its goal “is to create value for society.”
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