Over a 20-year career in cybersecurity and information technology, Ajay has seen companies create true competitive advantage from successful management of security and technology initiatives. At the same time, healthcare is burdened with outdated technology infrastructure and inefficiencies, which are often measured in human lives. Ajay decided to take his understanding of technology and implementation to disrupt and innovate healthcare.
In launching HSR.health, Ajay leverages the best of tech to transform American healthcare into a system that innovates healthcare delivery achieving improved quality, lower costs, and health equity. Under Ajay’s leadership, HSR.health pivoted to support COVID response in the US and globally, and through its lessons learned has developed insights into how health risks impact broader markets. The company is developing a digital Pandemic Early Warning and Response Platform to identify and mitigate impact of future pandemics.
In addition to his work at HSR.health, Ajay chairs the Health Domain Working Group for the Open Geospatial Consortium, the global standards setting body for all things Geo; serves as the Secretary of the Board of Directors of Holy Cross Health, a multi-hospital social safety net health system in Montgomery County, MD; and is on the Board of Governors for his alma mater, the fearless University of Maryland, College Park.
Could you share the genesis story behind HSR.health?
My friend and business partner, Ram Peruvemba, also a physician (an anesthesiologist), was watching President Obama’s Inaugural Address where he said, “We’re going to wield technology’s wonders to raise healthcare’s quality and lower its costs.” It occurred to both of us that had not happened—that technology hasn’t had the impact of improving the industry or lowering the cost-basis for the healthcare industry. Globally, technology has enabled operational efficiency and lowered costs in most other industries, why hasn’t it had the same effect on healthcare?
So, Ram and I decided to look into this issue and have built HSR.health to tackle this gap—to leverage advanced, modern tech to deliver improved quality of care around the world.
HSR.health specializes in spatial data analysis. Could you briefly explain what this is for readers who may be unfamiliar with this term?
Spatial data analysis differentiates from regular analysis by taking into consideration the geography of a location and the relationship between neighboring geographies. We specifically utilize spatial analysis in conjunction with social determinants of health to draw clinical insights.
HSR.health’s geospatial platform is used to map disease rates against social factors. What are some examples of social factors that are looked for?
We call these social factors “social determinants of health” (SDoH). SDoH are really how we define the world we live in. There is an unlimited amount of SDoH, but some common data points include income level, education, housing security, employment status, and population demographics, among others. Most recently, we’ve been using vaccine availability and distribution in our efforts to understand Vaccine Booster Efficacy and Safety in conjunction with the WHO.
What are the different types of machine learning methodologies that are used at HSR.health?
This work requires a creative data science team comfortable with using and inventing new AI models partially including agent-based models, mechanistic models, and SEIR models on large sets of social determinants of health data, health outcomes, and costs, to extract actionable insights that result in improved human health worldwide. Most of our projects are anchored by regression-based analyses. We have deployed a multitude of methodologies including Logistic Regression, Random Forrest Regression, and Linear Regression. We plan to enhance some of our current models with Geospatial Regressions as well. As for our simulation-based work, we utilize stochastic methods such as Monte Carlo simulations and random distribution sampling, converting real-world data into parameters for disease spread simulations.
HSR.health’s flagship product is the patented GeoHealth Platform. What is this specifically?
The GeoHealth Platform is a multi-cloud health-focused spatial data infrastructure with an advance AI workbench, and the source in which all of our risk indices are found (i.e., Medical Supply Needs Index, Transmission Risk Index, Mortality Risk Index, etc.). With a license to our GeoHealth Platform, our users gain access to these proprietary data models and can manipulate the models to fit their desired needs. It is designed to offer point-of-care decision support, anticipate future healthcare delivery needs, and serve the diverse needs of health systems, health plans, regulators, and insurers.
How does the GeoHealth Platform address health inequities?
The GeoHealth Platform supports efforts towards achieving health equity. Our Health Equity Index also resides on our GeoHealth Platform. The Health Equity Index uses an objective and exhaustive study of the social and environmental factors that contribute to inequity and identifies the unique needs of the most vulnerable members of our society in both current and future health disasters. It provides a comprehensive and interactive tool allowing users to self-select SDoH and health factors to analyze at the state or county level. The various tabs include maps at multiple geospatial levels, graphs showing the change in SDoH factors over time, and charts comparing the correlation between different factors.
Early on during the COVID-19 pandemic HSR.health pivoted towards assisting with the pandemic. Could you discuss HSR.health’s digital Disease Surveillance and Intervention Solution?
We are building a digital Disease Surveillance and Intervention Solution (DSIS) that will have the capacity to detect endemic and emerging disease outbreaks and coordinate effective response measures. This is based on our work supporting COVID-19 response efforts globally through which we have learned the signals of early human-to-human transmission of infectious disease. We plan to display some of the capabilities later this month and have further demonstrations planned before the end of the year.
What are some of the solutions that are being worked on for smart cities?
Smart cities can utilize our solutions in copious ways, not only by giving insights on the particular needs of their city, but by giving actionable data solutions based on data smart cities collect through their sensor infrastructure. Smart cities’ data collection paints a “what” of a city, but our SDoH related insights give the “why.”
What else would you like the world to know about HSR.health?
In addition to future pandemics, we believe that the earth’s rapidly changing climate is another great threat to global public health, in agreement with more than 200 medical journals that have addressed the issue. Individuals who are already vulnerable in terms of healthcare will be the most affected and in peril. The warming climate will be more hospitable and welcoming to infectious disease, expanding the reasons certain infectious diseases can thrive, and affect food insecurity and agricultural practices, bringing challenges to regular food and water supplies. Climate change is a vicious cycle that not only affects the environment, which in turn impacts human health, but that it also affects animal habitats and their lifestyle, which also have diverse impacts on people.
Today, our team is developing various models as part of our GeoHealth Platform to assess the impact of climate change on the human population, and our indices can be engineered to anticipate risks and find solutions to mitigate the negative outcomes.
Thank you for the great interview, readers who wish to learn more should visit HSR.health.