The company is up and running with a platform that uses the internet of things to remotely monitor and suggest treatment for patients with high blood pressure, a condition that affects 100 million Americans, according to the American Heart Association. Sentinel was started by CEO Nirav Shah, M.D., a neurologist and the former stroke director at Swedish Hospital in Seattle.
In many ways, hypertension is a perfect candidate for the internet of things. At-home monitoring took off in part because there simply aren’t enough caregivers to regularly measure all of those patients. But there’s often a lag between when a measurement is recorded and when a doctor reviews it. That’s valuable time when an intervention is needed.
Sentinel pairs any Bluetooth blood pressure cuff with software that can gather, analyze and make treatment suggestions to physicians based on the data. Shah said the software could be integrated into an electronic health records system, but clients have so far not wanted to take that step.
Other tech companies, such as Omron and Qardio, provide smart blood pressure cuffs and apps to help with remote monitoring. Sentinel aims to distinguish itself by interpreting the data and providing recommendations, which saves physicians time and can improve care.
In the future, the company plans to pair with other devices and expand its platform to monitor more conditions.
T.A. McCann, managing director at PSL Ventures, said he was won over by Sentinel in part due to Shah’s “doctorpreneur” credentials. “Nirav has clinical creditability,” McCann said.
The investment was the fourth for PSL’s venture fund and its first in a health care company. PSL Ventures raised an $80 million fund last year. It’s a separate entity from PSL Studio, the startup studio that rapidly tests and validates new ideas before recruiting an executive team to build out a spinoff company.
Sentinel previously received funding after winning the Seattle Angel Conference XIII startup competition. Y Combinator also awarded the company a grant.
Shah said the company, which monitors 500 hypertensive patients in three states, has grown at a monthly rate of 30 percent since launching in September. Sentinel has four employees and is headquartered in Seattle.
Shah doesn’t lose sleep over big tech companies swooping in to solve health care problems with data.
“Silicon Valley is really good at disrupting from the outside,” he said. “The reason why we had modest success early and hope to have success going forward is that we internally understand what everyone needs.”