(Art Credit: Michelle Henry)
Two years ago, Dinesh Seemakurty, a USC Viterbi biomedical engineering student and CEO of Stasis Labs, began visiting hospitals in his native India to learn more about the health industry there and how to better combine medicine and technology.
Stasis Labs co-founders Dinesh Seemakurty (left) and Michael Maylahn (right) pose with tablets that monitor patients' vital signs. (credit: Michelle Henry)
While in India, Seemakurty saw his grandfather being admitted to a hospital for COPD, a debilitating lung disease that makes breathing difficult. His health quickly deteriorated because of a lack of thorough monitoring of his vital signs.
Seemakurty said his grandfather's experience with COPD gave him a first-hand perspective of the health care challenges India faces and motivated him to found Stasis Labs with Michael Maylahn, a fellow USC biomedical engineering student and company COO.
Stasis Labs company logo
The fledgling business develops cost-effective technology that allows doctors to easily and inexpensively monitors patients’ vital signs. Its product consists of low-cost hardware vitals monitors that pair with their smartphone and tablet software.
This reduces hospital stays for patients by allowing health practitioners to continuously keep track of the health of all the patients checked into a hospital, not just patients in the intensive care unit.
Early detection of problems can lead to shorter hospital stays, decreased admittance to the ICU and lower mortality rates, experts said.
The Stasis System will link their custom health monitors to mobile tablets wirelessly so doctors can read vital signs that are customized to the patient’s specific conditions.
This tablet-based patient chart will help bridge the gap between the developed and developing world by making the amount of patient information available to doctors more accessible and affordable.
“We want to revitalize how medical devices are brought into hospitals that can’t afford it,” Seemakurty said. “Our technology will increase access to quality health care.”
Stasis Labs has earned national recognition. In March, Inc. Magazine named it as one of 16 “Coolest College Startups of 2015.”
Additionally, the startup received the Most Innovative Venture Award at the USC Stevens Innovator Showcase and was named the Top Changemaker at the USC Ashoka Social Venture Competition.
In April, Stasis Labs was one of the top 50 teams from over 650 applicants at the Rice Business Plan Competition, the world’s most competitive business plan event.
Stasis Labs also recently won the USC Grand Challenges business plan competition and was selected to represent the U.S. in an international Grand Challenges tournament held in Beijing in September 2015. Stasis is one of the five teams from the U.S. selected to compete at this prestigious event.
“It’s really incredible to represent USC and the U.S. as we help solve worldwide health care issues,” COO Maylahn said. “America is a multicultural country and bringing technology around the world is a way to represent global change. We’re not just targeting any specific area, we want to be a global company.”
The startup is in the process of building the Stasis System, a health-monitoring technology for developing countries to track six core vital signs including heart rates, blood oxygen levels and other functions. The data would then be wirelessly transferred to Android-based devices for doctors and nurses to use as a health information system.
Seemakurty said Stasis Labs is currently focusing on Android phones and tablets due to their popularity India and will consider iOS devices based on the market needs.
Stasis is targeting small business hospitals in India with 20 to 100 beds, which account for over 80 percent of hospitals there. The company is starting with private, urban hospitals that cater to the middle class with hospital administrators who want to upgrade their medical services.
While Stasis is currently raising investment funds to bring their product to market, it hopes to launch its products next year in India. Seemakurty said the country presents a strategic entry point for the Stasis System.
Since many small Indian hospitals typically provide continuous vitals monitoring only to intensive care patients, who account for 10 percent of hospital patients, Stasis will provide monitoring for the other 90 percent, Seemakurty said.
The firm recently joined D-Health, a digital innovation lab created by USC’s Health, Technology and Engineering program that brings together USC Viterbi doctoral candidates and Keck School medical students to provide a rapid prototyping and testing environment for the USC entrepreneurship community focused on healthcare information technology.
D-Health will allow Stasis executives to shadow physicians at partnering hospitals such as Keck Hospital of USC and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, giving them invaluable insights about existing technologies and doctor needs.
“Working with doctors and health care practitioners will help with our company’s development. We will have access to the necessary resources for us to build a better product,” Seemakurty said.
HTE Administrator George Tolomiczenko has followed the progress of Stasis Labs over the past year.
“These monitors will help doctors in the developing world know when to send someone to a hospital and can even discern signs of an outbreak,” Tolomiczenko said. “Having these patients constantly monitored is less expensive through smart phone and cloud information, and it’s less of a burden on hospitals.”
Stasis intends to become a global medical device company that helps small hospitals across the world. Seemakurty said the company plans to penetrate markets in Southeast Asia and later target the United States.
“Reducing the costs and increasing access of quality health care isn’t just an American problem, it’s a global challenge,” Seemakurty said. “I’m excited about the future of Stasis labs and our part in coming up with a solution that can contribute to resolving a problem that persists in many countries.”