Approximately 6.7 million Americans aged 65 and older are estimated to have Alzheimer’s disease in 2023, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. But even that alarming number might significantly underestimate the problem, with a study showing that the number of people who die from Alzheimer’s disease may be 5x more than reported.
Raleigh-based uMethod was founded in 2013 to help doctors treat patients suffering from cognitive problems like dementia and Alzheimer’s. The SaaS platform provides a service to doctors, who order blood tests for a patient suffering from cognitive decline in order to create a personalized AI-generated care plan.
AI collects data on patients from blood tests ordered by their doctor and devises a treatment plan by analyzing treatable causes such as infection, inflammation, hearing loss, and more. The doctor would then review the care plan and recommend treatment.
Vik Chandra, uMethod’s CEO and Co-Founder, received his masters in Computer Engineering at NC State.
“We’re fundamentally looking to change the way patients with cognitive decline are cared for,” Chandra said.
uMethod’s main focus is creating care plans for people who have dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but the company also provides immune system care plans and will later add another treatment option for depression.
John Walker, CTO and Co-Founder, has a doctorate in computer science from UNC-Chapel Hill.
“The software engine creates brief reports, describing prioritized steps to be taken,” said Walker in an email to GrepBeat. “The reports (known as care plans) provide doctors, a patient, their family and any caregivers with a recommended path forward—acting as a personal assistant to whomever is in charge of providing treatment.”
Suggested treatment plans can include advice about possible medications or supplements for the patient to start or stop, and suggested lifestyle changes like exercising.
Patients sometimes have other diseases besides cognitive decline that can affect their treatment plan. uMethod takes into account all of these factors. Patients receive a personalized report that is easy to follow so they know what to change.
“(Dementia) is an unbelievably bad problem,” said Walker, “and we’ve got a solution.”
With nearly 20 employees, uMethod is operating in about 15 states with a goal to expand across the country.
Medicare can be used to cover the costs of uMethod’s services. The team worked hard to design a solution that would not put financial strain on patients dealing with cognitive decline.
Chandra said the company establishes relationships with medical laboratories who give uMethod care plans to doctors, who then treat patients suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s and immune system illnesses.
“We get paid from the medical laboratories for the analysis,” he said.
Angel investors and venture capital firms like The Pink Ceiling in Raleigh have invested in uMethod. The Pink Ceiling invests in companies focusing on solutions to women’s health issues. Nearly two-thirds of American Alzheimer’s patients are women, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s website.
The Triangle Tweener Fund has also invested in uMethod’s third funding round.