Nutrition is important to monitor for your health, especially for potentially malnourished cancer patients, who are three times more likely to be hospitalized during treatment than those who are not suffering from malnutrition.
Founded in 2016 by Rakshit Sharma and Peter Meath, Agilix Health is a healthtech startup with Triangle roots that focuses on improving the nutrition for patients with cancer so their quality of life can improve.
Sharma, the CEO and Co-Founder, has done years of research on the gaps of care in oncology, the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
“Our aim is to fill this gap by closely monitoring patients’ nutrition and health to give them evidence-based, appropriate, personalized advice, right in their homes,” Sharma told GrepBeat via email. “This can make a real difference in their health and quality of life.”
The scale of malnutrition is enormous since “around 80% of cancer patients will face malnutrition at some stage in their illness,” Sharma wrote.
Meath, the CFO and Co-Founder, said current patients in the hospital do not get proper nutritional support that can help them through their treatments.
“We believe very strongly that nutrition is a key under-served element of highly complex disease,” Meath said.
Meath is based in Durham while Sharma works out of Boston, where Agilix Health has its HQ. The pair met while earning MBAs at Duke Fuqua School. Agilix Health also recently received an investment from the Triangle Tweener Fund.
The systemic hurdles that exist for oncology patients, including overburdened physicians and medical staff, limit the availability of nutritional support.
“There is a lack of oversight outside of the walls of the hospital,” Meath said, since most cancer treatment is performed on an outpatient basis and doctors cannot monitor a patient all the time when they are at home.
The startup works with health providers that connect Agilix Health with patients who need nutritional support. Agilix Health charges providers per patient they work with on a monthly basis. The Agilix Health team will then contact the patient to explain the nutrition program, and send them devices like digital weighing scales and other tools the provider wants the patient to have in order to track their nutrition.
Patients have the option of downloading the Agilix Health app to track their health data like weight loss. The app is designed with elderly cancer patients in mind who may struggle with technology and is extremely easy to use.
The Agilix Health staff starts to collect data and personalizes recommendations to the patient so they can make positive nutritional changes. Agilix Health frequently contacts patients, mostly over the phone, to make sure they are following their plans and to provide personalized support. Clinical staff and dieticians at Agilix Health will monitor this information, and hold weekly consultations with patients to talk about what the person can do to improve their health.
Agilix Health monitors aspects like dehydration as well. If a patient’s nutrition data is left unchecked, this can lead to difficult complications with their health and increased costs of treatment from emergency room visits or other hospital trips.
There are nearly 20 registered dieticians working with Agilix Health, in addition to 10 full-time employees working at the company. While Agilix Health is headquartered in Boston, many employees work virtually. Agilix Health has customers in at least six states, Meath said.
The Triangle Tweener Fund invested in Agilix Health earlier this year along with angel investors, family offices and venture capital funds such as Cary-based Harbright Ventures. Agilix Health will use these funds to expand its patient base in the Triangle region.
“Our goal is to democratize outcomes and make healthcare personalized…by using our unique virtual nutrition-led care platform, which combines patient’s health data and preferences with the expertise of specialized dietitians who help the patients best manage their conditions,” Sharma wrote.