Digital health startup wants to disrupt how health-care professionals care for patients

Divya Dhar came to the U.S. in 2011 on a student visa. Now she's the CEO of a University City startup.
Divya Dhar came to the U.S. in 2011 on a student visa. Now she's the CEO of a University City startup.
Posted: April 11, 2014

 DIVYA DHAR, 28, of Cambridge, Mass., is CEO and co-founder of Seratis. Dhar's company is a University City startup that was one of 10 health-care startups that participated in a boot camp in 2013 to speed development of their business models. Seratis has built a mobile app to enable doctors, nurses and others to coordinate, track and analyze patient care via text, images and videos. Dhar, a New Zealand citizen, is completing a master's degree at Wharton and Harvard Kennedy School and then will move to Philly.

 Q: What's the value proposition for Seratis?

A: One is we provide team transparency. Seven out of 10 care members on a patient's team don't know each other. Second is the status quo is very inefficient. We believe we can shorten discharge times for patients and maybe eliminate medical errors.

Q: What differentiates you from competitors?

A: Most people are looking at replacing the pager with a smartphone using messaging. The problem is not about messaging. Rather, do we even know who to message in the first place? We go to the root cause of the problem: who's on the patient care team [and] how we create a visual map and enable messaging securely.

Q: Backstory on name?

A: Seratis is a Latin term that means to interconnect, intertwine and bind.

Q: The biz model?

A: It's a software-as-a-service model. So if you're a hospital and you want to bring on one department, initially we offer a per-user-per-month-fee model. Eventually, let's say you want users across all your departments. At that point we license [the service] to you and you can bring on as many users as you want. We're still working out price points.

Q: Any customers yet?

A: We have pilot sites. The first one that went live in January is in Conroe [Texas] with Cornerstone Healthcare Group, which operates the 40-bed Solara Hospital. The next site will be at Penn Medicine in the psychiatric unit and we hope those two sites provide good data. We have begun talks with three other hospitals and they are still ongoing so I can't disclose the names yet.

Q: How much startup money have you raised?

A: DreamIt gave us $42,000. We got an $850,000 prize for finishing second in the Verizon Powerful Answers Award. That gave us a runway to get [the platform] to market this year, and next year is about scaling and commercializing. We're also part of the Wharton Venture Initiation Program and they gave my co-founder $10,000.

Q: What's been the biggest challenge to date?

A: Getting the first pilot. No health-care group wants to be first to try something new, especially from a startup.

Q: What's your academic background?

A: I'm a [resident] doctor from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. I came to the U.S. in 2011 on a student visa.


On Twitter: @MHinkelman

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