Categories: Innovate

Health systems fighting Covid-19 can tap digital toolkits from Tampa startup

Edgility Cognitive Healthcare is offering free toolkits to help hospitals and health systems with the fight against Covid-19 coronavirus.

The toolkits draw on the cloud-enabled, artificial intelligence-driven technology created by the Tampa startup.

Edgility, which launched in 2016, has developed command centers to handle operational flows for hospitals and health systems. The company has contracts with major health systems nationwide, but for now is focusing on providing its technology to any health system that wants it to help manage operations.

“This is challenging us to fundamentally question what we are doing and how we are going to do business in the future and the purpose of our company,” Balaji Ramadoss, co-founder and CEO, told the St. Pete Catalyst. “This becomes a foundational question to your character of why you are a startup and what you do. I feel like that takes another level of depth, being a healthcare startup. We see the nurses and the doctors and [other providers] at work. We have friends in the industry. It just becomes a lot more personal for a startup in healthcare.”

Ramadoss was chief technology officer at Tampa General Hospital from 2011 to 2015. More recently he was vice president, digital experience and hospital design, at Stanford Health Care in Palo Alto when he launched Edgility with co-founder, Heather Holland, a healthcare industry technology specialist who previously was on the cybersecurity team at PwC.

Edgility took action as the seriousness of the pandemic started to emerge, Ramadoss said, recalling a meeting at the company’s office at Embarc Collective in downtown Tampa on the last day of February.

“We were sitting in our office in Embarc, having a conversation and said, it’s almost as if this crisis was made for our technology. We realized the impact it would have on the hospitals and care providers, and said it was not a time to be selling this technology. So we decided one of the best things we could do was to break it up in to smaller chunks that people can start using immediately,” Ramadoss said.

The toolkits help hospitals manage their operations, including staffing and bed capacity, treatment orders and setting up call centers to handle questions from the public. There have been three toolkit releases and more are planned, Ramadoss said.

“We can identify 400 different health systems interacting with it, downloading it, reviewing it,” he said, although he’s unsure how many of those systems have put the toolkits to use.

“The idea is to improve the friction that exists in a health system. During ‘peacetime,’ hospital operations are focused on patient flow, making sure the right patient is getting the right care. During the ‘wartime effort,’ which is right now, it is making sure the flow of the patient is not contaminating other hospital operations,” he said.

Lisa Meyer, Edgility’s chief outcomes officer, led the team in sewing and assembling reusable face-masks for front-line providers.

He hopes the free toolkits create more industry awareness of how to use transactional data to care for patients. “If they associate it with Edgility, that will be a good thing,” Ramadoss said.

For the public, Edgility has developed a Covid triage tool that follows CDC guidelines and allows users to do basic homemade testing. That’s available here.

Edgility separately has begun a project to provide face masks to healthcare providers. Lisa Meyer, the company’s chief outcomes officer, couldn’t sleep one night so she started sewing masks, and the rest of the team later joined in.

Ramadoss is cataloging the company’s journey through the pandemic with blogs on Medium, available here, here and here.

 

Margie Manning

Margie started her journalism career as a radio news reporter in St. Louis, before putting down her microphone and picking up a pen to work at the St. Louis Business Journal. Unable to resist the call of warm weather and beaches, Margie took an entrepreneurial detour to run an ice cream shop in Treasure Island with her husband. Before joining the Catalyst, Margie spent 14 years at the Tampa Bay Business Journal where she wrote about business successes, failures and the exciting world of innovation and start-ups. Her writing coaches are Bonnie the Dog and Coffee the Cat, joined recently by a new edition, Jack the Cat. Margie can be contacted at margie@stpetecatalyst.com

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