AWS Startups Blog
How Latino startup founders are advancing healthcare equity
As with all best forms of innovation, great ideas stem from true need. In Mexico, there is a need for an equitable, efficient, and sustainable healthcare system. Latino startup founders are addressing this need and advancing healthcare equity by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to drive better patient outcomes.
Zenda expands access to private medical coverage using AI
Zenda, a customized insurance startup for urban millennials and Gen Z, is working to reduce inequality in access to primary care due to lack of private health insurance.
According to CEO Diego Muradás, more than 115 million people in Mexico don’t have access to private health insurance. “Our mission is to open access to affordable health services through our digital platform. We have been building not only a private, very accessible private health insurance, but also a health suite,” explains Diego. “This helps us to deliver basic health services like telemedicine or digital checkups. AI models, for example, help us to measure the biological age of people.”
Zenda uses biological age and other factors to provide insights into which types of illness they should focus on to maximize the effectiveness of their coverage program. Per Diego, “Our goal is not to cover everything—our goal is to cover the things that could happen to you with higher probability.”
Diego pointed out that a major challenge with training their AI models has been the inherent bias in most datasets. The team took great care in building a curated dataset tailored to the Latin American population. “Our dataset is specifically tailored for Mexicans. We are a very diverse society. Our model works well with the composition of Mexican society: the dataset incorporates ages, the genders, the skin color ranges. The model is something that we are very proud of.”
Diego says conversations and community building within the Amazon Web Services (AWS) startup ecosystem have been instrumental in product ideation and how to drive bigger impact. “AWS has given us the ability to build a community with not only them, but also within the broader community of entrepreneurship in here in Mexico,” he explains. “It’s especially helpful to be able to come to AWS solutions architects with a problem and say, ‘Hey, yeah, I would like to do this.’”
Clivi maximizes reach of doctors to treat diabetes in Mexico
Clivi is another Mexican startup that is addressing Latin America’s healthcare equity challenges, with a specific focus on the Type II diabetes.
Founder and CEO Ricardo Moguel says, “Diabetes is the second leading cause of death in Mexico. Our mission is to bring people affordable care and help them to control their diabetes so these people can extend their life.”
Clivi collaborated closely with endocrinologists, nutritionists, and psychologists to build an AI-based application for improving patient outcomes. In the 12 months that the application has been live, the team has demonstrated a significant reduction in the A1C score of patients who have been in the program for at least three months. This drop continues throughout the product lifecycle.
Clivi’s key to success is maximizing the capacity and reach of individual doctors. “To treat diabetes in Mexico, there is one endocrinologist to almost 10,000 patients,” explains Ricardo. “What we are building is this tool that allows the doctor to generate more capacity.”
Clivi uses human-in-the-loop technology by using natural language processing techniques to predict a doctor’s responses to patient inquiries. The application can also automatically recommend adjustments to patient treatment programs for doctors to further augment their reach. “The application will select people that we need to evaluate, and then the doctor will decide whether these people need to adjust their treatments,” he explains.
With AWS solutions such as Amazon Comprehend Medical, the Clivi team expects to further boost the efficiency of medical providers to reach even more patients. “We believe that with AWS, we can improve the accuracy of our predictions and do it faster,” says Ricardo. “In the beginning, we were able to maximize the capacity of a doctor. Our next challenge is to go 10 times the original capacity in the next 24 months.”
With the support of AWS, startups like Zenda and Clivi plan to continue to create better health outcomes and a more equitable healthcare system. Ricardo believes the Latin American healthcare market is, “attractive to innovators who want to create a positive impact in people’s lives in Latin America.” As Diego says, “The way we use tools such as AI is super powerful nowadays and this gives us the possibility to do things that were not possible before.”