Sammy Wahab and Rini Singh know how difficult it can be to manage health care for people with developmental disabilities.
Singh has a 13-year-old son who is autistic and nonverbal. Visits between different health care practitioners – which include an occupational therapist, a speech language pathologist, special ed teachers and behavioural therapist – proved difficult to keep up with, as different practitioners would say different things with no context for what other health care providers would say.
“All these individuals are providing care and doing their own assessments, and not everyone is on the same page,” Wahab says. “Meanwhile, the child is in the middle of all of this care not getting the help that he needs.”
From that experience, Wahab and Singh founded Mozzaz, a health tech startup, and two years ago started working on TalkingTiles, a cloud-based personalized care app that helps people with intellectual developmental disabilities manage communication, schedules and learning. It was the first in the range of health care solutions that Mozzaz is working on today, which targets people suffering from conditions like ALS, stroke and dementia. TalkingTiles helps people with intellectual developmental disability disorders communicate with the health care providers.
While they were still in the testing period for TalkingTiles, Wahab cites an example of a young woman who stayed in a group home and had to use a big binder filled with cutouts, signs and notes to communicate, which he says can be frustrating.
However, when she started using TalkingTiles, “She takes out an Android device, presses a few buttons to say ‘Hey, I want to see this movie”,” Wahab says. “It takes a second to say exactly what she wants to do.”
While the patients and caregivers using TalkingTiles benefit from the personalized treatment plans, all of their healthcare providers can provide easy-to-follow care plans on a real time basis.
“We are capturing data straight from the patient,” Wahab says. “So if an individual is using our tool, we have data about what is and isn’t working and before you even see a clinician, they can see in what areas they need help.”
Today, Mozzaz is looking to expand their health care solutions to include Mozzaz Care, which is used by clinicians to collaborate with clients, record data on their patient and observe whether the care plan is working, and Mozzaz Care PRO, which is used strictly among health care professionals to assess patients and monitor their care plans. While both products are still in the beta-testing mode, the idea behind Mozzaz is that, by allowing so many levels of collaboration, it will create a more seamless experience for health care providers so that they can provide more informed levels of care. It also means that, because users don’t have to constantly travel to receive assessments, there can be more focus on the actual therapy.
“If you’re going to deliver care to homes, you need to have a good mobile strategy to be able to do that, and you need to have a secure way of doing that,” says Wahab. “And that’s where Mozzaz Care PRO products come in.”
As they developed their product and engaged with clinicians for input on how to make their product better, they’ve increasingly grown as a company. They’ve launched a partnership with CoCENTRIX, a Florida-based health care solutions company, secured clients like the State of Mississippi Department of Mental Health and the State of Arkansas Department of Human Services, and are working with hospitals in Saudi Arabia and China. Just a few weeks ago, they became the 44th graduate from the Accelerator Centre, an award-winning Waterloo-based accelerator.
“It gave us a home so that we could grow, accelerate our team and interact with other technologists who have done something similar so we could collaborate,” Wahab says. “It gave us a chance to focus on the business rather than worry about growth issues.”
As for the future of the company, Wahab says this need will only get bigger: “We’re seeing a big trend in transition of care being delivered in the home from care facilities, as well as the need for personalized care management through accessible devices such as smartphones and tablets.”