Senthilkumar Murugesan had the passion and determination to bring his company focused on providing healthier pregnancies through new technology to fruition, but he needed to get the word out about his product. Enter Yale’s Sustainable Health Initiative (SHI). “I applied as soon as I saw the SHI opportunity,” says Senthilkumar. “The program was not only going to offer us a global platform on which to tell our story but also would provide us with a better understanding of how to work with different cultures and adjust our approach to different markets.”
Senthilkumar is the co-founder and CEO of JioVio Healthcare, a Singapore-based MedTech international company focused on providing a healthy pregnancy, infant care, and parenting experience through innovation in technology. The company created Savemom, a jewelry-inspired battery-run wearable device that collects various physiological signals from the mother such as blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, respiratory rate, and glucose. The device also tracks sleep and has a weighing scale integrated with the application to monitor the steady rise in weight throughout the pregnancy.
Senthilkumar says he was inspired when he saw how many health departments in India are short-staffed and workers are overextended resulting in rural women being nearly three times more likely to die from complications during pregnancy or childbirth than those in more urban areas. Many of these women are wary of the healthcare system and cannot afford to make frequent visits to far-off hospitals. With the Savemom device, all the data collected is uploaded in the cloud for doctors to view remotely and quickly become aware if any mother’s risk assessment is negative, so that preventive measures may be taken at the right time.
Senthilkumar credits the mentors at Yale School of Public Health for helping them get their product in front of the right audiences and guiding the JioVio team on how to present their story. “The SHI program taught us how to organize and share our ideas,” he explains. “We needed to learn how to present our story at a global level which meant learning different cultures and what type of technology communities would use.”. “Gaining a better understanding of our audience helped us create a product of value to them, one they would want to use.” Senthilkumar says it was this process that resulted in their being able to introduce their product to private hospitals and companies around the world, many of which they may never have had the chance to reach on their own.
Through collaborations with local government agencies, hospitals, and non-governmental organizations, Savemom has successfully helped more than 3600 mothers across India have healthy pregnancies and babies by ensuring collected vital information is sent to the doctor in real-time for feedback.
Senthilkumar also credits the skills they learned through SHI with the ability to not only maintain their business but adapt and grow during the COVID pandemic. “We quickly learned about sustainability and figured a way to generate revenue and utilize our technology beyond Savemom,” he says. Jiovio customized and adapted their technology to create Ocare, a product that assists district authorities to keep track people in quarantine after a COVID -19 exposure through a mobile app. Senthilkumar, the founder of Qcare, says the app can be downloaded on most phones. One of its other key features is providing proper news updates on COVID-19 status and real-time data and section to filter fake news on social media.
“We had to convince government officials, doctors, and national policymakers to use Qcare and demonstrate its value in how monitoring people and technology can help save lives during the pandemic,” says Senthilkumar. Since 2020, JioVio has been working with airport authorities for faster COVID screening by using a portable device to measure temperature. Airports had previously only had non-contact thermometers in use, but the new device goes beyond just taking a temperature and collecting data for tracking – so more people can be screened faster and potentially infect fewer people. “We were confident enough to go in front of these audiences based on our education and skills learned with SHI.”
Although business is booming right now, Senthilkumar says he looks forward to furthering collaborations with Yale and the SHI program to assist them in reaching more audiences as they scale their technology to address even more health care issues.