By Kyle Shaner
Public Information Officer
A University of Cincinnati Venture Lab-backed startup is seeking to make health care more convenient and more equitable with a telehealth platform that enables doctors to perform remote comprehensive physical examinations with patients.
The startup, TeleSMART Health, offers customized patient kits with a variety of medical tools, a clinician app and a web portal, which allow doctors to examine patients and collect objective data to inform their medical decision making.
TeleSMART Health helps doctors remotely perform physical examinations on patients, such as listening to their hearts and lungs, which greatly improves their ability to provide care.
“It’s quite remarkable how many medical decisions are being made without a physical exam these days because of the pandemic,” said Christopher Lewis, M.D., TeleSMART Health’s chief medical officer. “But our theory is that even after the pandemic, the convenience, the access, the health equity factors will make this sort of technology stick around.”
UC’s Venture Lab, operated by the Office of Innovation, provides a launch pad for entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into a startup reality. The UC Venture lab is in the 1819 Innovation Hub in the Cincinnati Innovation District, providing a connection point to talent, support and funding to help launch new companies.
“It makes a guy like me who never thought I’d be involved in a startup, all of a sudden, I have the tools and the training that I need at the tip of my fingers here at our university,” Lewis said. “I never thought I’d be involved in a startup, and here I am a couple years in and still having fun and still learning from the folks at 1819.”
The idea for TeleSMART Health arose in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic during a conversation between Lewis and Tchad Robinson, a friend from college who now is the startup’s CEO. Frustrated by the challenges of receiving medical care in the spring of 2020, their complaints soon evolved into a conversation about an opportunity to meet the needs of the health care system.
“Our value added is serving as a platform,” Robinson said. “It’s a digital health platform that can integrate different devices into a kit so that it’s very easy for a user, which could be a patient at their home or a patient in a skilled nursing facility with the help of a nurse.”
Lewis, a physician for UC Health, vice provost for academic programs at UC and professor of family medicine at the UC College of Medicine, sees numerous potential benefits provided by telehealth.