For most of us, caring for wounds is a matter of applying a bit of antiseptic to a cut finger and slapping on a bandage. But for Jerence Go, an Executive MBA participant at Cambridge Judge Business School (EMBA 2017), a traumatic event in his personal life led to a quest to improve wound care through artificial intelligence.
In late 2015, Jerence recounts, his father was involved as a pedestrian in a serious road accident in the New York metropolitan area, causing lasting brain and bodily injuries. After his father had multiple surgeries, including neck and spinal titanium fusion, facial procedures and a tracheostomy, he spent the following years in hospitals, and acute and sub-acute facilities, before entering home care near New York City.
At that time, Jerence was an executive responsible for EMEA sales and operations management for high-tech lasers and sensors automation company Keyence Corporation in Belgium. After his father’s accident, Jerence’s career ground to a halt as he moved back to the US to become his father’s primary caregiver. Through this experience, and his undergraduate studies that focused on forensic science and psychology, he built an understanding of various areas relating to healthcare, including pharmacology, insurance and billing, and healthcare law.
Among his father’s injuries was a severe pressure ulcer and necrosis occurring at the back of the thigh area – and this led Jerence to do a lot of research into various wound treatment options. His conclusion: there is a lot of variability in wound assessment from clinician to clinician, which means there is a need for more standardised data and information for clinicians and families alike.
This prompted Jerence, along with four partners in technology and healthcare, to co-found KOS Technologies Ai (KOS Ai), which uses machine learning algorithms and on-going neural network training to provide caregivers with standardised wound care recommendations delivered through the cloud to mobile devices.
The technology works by combining all the input from the patient’s data and the computer vision captured through the app; this provides clinical professionals with evidence-based data to help provide the appropriate diagnosis and prognosis through various stages of the wound.
The idea is to provide the clinician with consistency of such evidence-based data, reducing potential subjectivity while saving time and money. Jerence believes that this AI-generated big data will be useful to medical professionals in wound care as well as to clinical non-specialists.
“The traumatic experience of heading back home to become my father’s primary caregiver, advocate, and ultimately, a son, and having to put my career on hold for more than three years was tremendously challenging,” says Jerence, who now lives in the New York area and has spent most of his life in California and New Jersey. “But I believe all things happen for a reason, and we believe that KOS Ai can generate positive impacts for patients and communities.”
KOS Ai is currently seeking seed funding of US $750,000 (£575,500), and plans to launch beta pilot testing in the North American market within the next six months. The KOS Ai team now includes eight people, including software and hardware engineers, a data scientist and registered nurses.
The global wound care market is expanding rapidly owing to an aging population and other factors, including a rise in pressure ulcer cases, and is expected to be valued at more than USD $40 billion within the next five years.
In addition to his Executive MBA studies at Cambridge Judge Business School, Jerence also completed the Ignite programme offered by the Entrepreneurship Centre at Cambridge Judge, which celebrated its 20th birthday at an event on 9 May. He credits Cambridge Judge for helping him develop a “presentable, credible and realistic” business plan to investors, and has “opened doors for me in a big way”.
Yet he acknowledges that his startup faces many challenges: healthcare artificial intelligence is a relatively new technology space, so there are plenty of issues to navigate relating to sensitive private and confidential patient data.
This article is part of Venturing Forth, our series on the aspirations and challenges of ventures connected to students, alumni and others associated with Cambridge Judge Business School.