Health IT, Startups

How Senscio Systems addresses chronic care management with AI

The company’s Ibis platform goes in the homes of patients with multiple chronic conditions. Individuals interact with it, and Ibis sends necessary information to the patient’s care team.

Piali De is a physicist who worked on creating AI systems for the U.S. defense departments, including programs after 9/11. She found the work meaningful, but in 2010, her father-in-law became ill and needed a heart valve replacement. After the procedure, he picked up an infection and his health went downhill.

“In front of our eyes, he became reduced to a man who was very capable of taking care of himself to one who couldn’t,” De said in a phone interview. She and her husband Hugh Stoddart, who is also a physicist, came to a realization: “The [healthcare] system gets exponentially complicated if you have anything other than pristine health.”

Thus, they created Senscio Systems. The Boxborough, Massachusetts company’s core technology is Scio, an AI-based software engine, and its Ibis platform is the application of Scio to the healthcare space.

Ibis is geared toward patients with multiple chronic conditions. Here’s how it works: For patients, it is simply a large monitor that goes in their home. The tool, which structures a patient’s day for him or her, is pictorial and allows individuals to interact with it. For instance, Ibis will bring up a certain activity the patient should complete, and the person can tell Ibis whether they did it or not.

That information is immediately processed by the AI. “It’s very situational,” De said. “Every interaction is analyzed and you are told additional things to do based on the situation.”

Meanwhile, Ibis informs the patient’s care navigator when something goes wrong. When necessary, the system alerts other members of the care team, such as the individual’s physician or social worker, as well.

“The AI is essentially orchestrating the rationale as to who needs to step in and solve the issue at hand,” De explained.

These care team members are also able to communicate with each other about the patient.

Though Senscio Systems relies on artificial intelligence, De dislikes how the term “AI” has become a buzzword — so much so, she said, that it’s losing its meaning. Instead, she highlighted how her company is specifically leveraging AI to “augment human intelligence by queuing [patients] at the right time and framing the importance of the queue.”

The Massachusetts startup’s customers are health plans, particularly those that cover dual-eligible beneficiaries under Medicare and Medicaid. And moving forward, assisting that patient population is De’s mission.

“My only goal is to prove that with AI, you can build a highly functioning, diverse team that can truly support our most vulnerable and complex health members,” she said.

Photo: nambitomo, Getty Images