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Calgary’s Next Economy: Zaia Health connecting patients, doctors through data

Artificial intelligence has made its way into a number of fields and now the founders of Zaia Health are delivering it to patients on their chronic disease journey.

Juan Large, co-founder, along with his brother Eduardo and Jose Avila, have developed a series of mathematical trees for the diagnosis, staging, and medical and surgical treatment that’s integrated into a virtual platform to support doctors and patients.

“We help to connect patients with physicians,” said Large.

Right now, their partnerships focus on cancer treatment.

The smartphone or web-based tool provides medication reminders, vital signs and allows reporting of adverse effects they’re having during treatments. It brings together all of the patient data both inside and outside of the clinical setting.

“We send the most important alerts to the physician and the healthcare team, so they give them the attention that they need when they need it,” Large said.

Large, an industrial engineer by trade, said he and his brother wanted to use their skills to build something that would help people.

“We brought all the experience that we have from other sectors such as aerospace, education, and the military and we used it to create this platform connected with the patients and physicians,” he said.

Large said that patients can download the app and they connect with their physician.

From there, they can report their treatments, how they’re feeling, and schedule key reminders for the patient. That could include appointments, follow ups and medication.

“Doctors can tell the patient ‘Hey, take these, or come to the hospital,” he said.

“They can see the whole evolution of the patient.”

The AI influence can interpret data from a wide range of patients across the platform to provide physicians with another tool for diagnosis and care.

Understanding the needs of the North American market

Large said that he came to Calgary a year ago. They’d been developing and perfecting the system through a program in Colombia.

Through the Alberta Catalyzer – Velocity program, their team is being exposed to how the health system operates in Canada.

“Platform is helping to understand the market, the needs of the Canadian health system,” he said.

They initially want to set up shop here, find grants and build an employment base to deploy the solution here in Canada. Then, the plan is to get it into the United States.

Moving forward, Zaia Health is looking at connecting it with hospitals, so they can track the outcomes of patients based on their doctor. In the US for example, he said physicians are being paid according to their performance. The Zaia system allows that kind of tracking.

Right now, their focus is on adding more institutions to the platform, and with that, more patients.

Thus far, they’ve been operating without any investment, only grants.

“The idea is to get those grants and also start to expand the ecosystem to get more people into the platform,” Large said.

After that, he said they want to evolve it as a Data as a Service model. They can use data from their system for pharmaceutical companies to track the efficacy of the drugs.

“Those studies are really hard to do right now,” Large said.

“This is the evolution and maybe (doctors) can give another treatment and we will have better outcomes, less side effects.”