Meet the First Startup to Come Out of UC Davis Health’s Innovation Incubator

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This week, UC Davis Health announced the first startup to come out of its health tech innovation incubator. The company, named WellCent, is a platform that allows patients and caregivers to onboard medical devices into their home and access digital health resources.

The startup was founded by Chrysanthy Demos, the former CEO of Sacramento-based real estate developer AKT Development. Her deep background in housing and land management helped her spark the idea to create WellCent, said Ashish Atreja, UC Davis Health’s chief information officer and chief digital health officer, in an interview.

“When people think of new homes, they talk about how many bedrooms, bathrooms and living rooms it has, but no one talks about how much health room or health space 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 it also connects caregivers to a patient’s home so they can keep tabs on how their loved one is doing. The startup provides patients and caregivers with educational resources to make the process of implementing new health technology into their daily routine less daunting and confusing.

The platform also includes telehealth tools that allow patients to communicate with their care teams at hospitals and clinics, Atreja said.

The startup is still in its infant stages, but Atreja said the startup’s ultimate vision is to ensure that homes have spaces that are dedicated to health, equipped with medical devices and digital health tools. He called this a “paradigm shift,” because the vast majority of homes in the country do not have any 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 dedicated health space, Atreja said.

There is a tremendous amount of innovation going on in the home health industry — some examples of companies in the space include Medically Home, MedArrive and Tomorrow Health. Atreja said WellCent can differentiate itself from other companies because it is uniquely focused on ease-of-use and making the creation of 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 technology to make healthcare more accessible and equitable.

“We take all the new innovations that are happening and are aligned with our mission, and we test them out to validate them,” Atreja said. “If they are good, then we can bring it to our ecosystem. It’s like a sandbox approach.” 

The incubator isn’t solely focused on creating startups, though. It is focused on validating concepts and technology — no matter which stage they’re in. Atreja declared 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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