Sensassure is an early stage startup that has a really cool product with big implications. The product is a connected diaper with a sensor that tracks whether incontinent seniors have soiled themselves. Sure, it's a bit of a gross problem to tackle, but it's a problem that's becoming increasingly important as the North American population ages.
To put the problem in perspective, the Baby Boomers are currently around 50 to 70 years of age and there are over 80 million of them in North America. In the next 10 years, we can expect that the majority of those Boomers will be at an age where elderly incontinence is a regular occurrence. Japan is also a big target market. With a population of 127M+, Japan's population is aging quickly. As of 2010, 23% of the country was over the age of 63. Those senior citizens who experience incontinence cost the tax payer and insurance companies billions of dollars as they require regular attention and can develop health complications such as skin infections.
Sensassure's solution has a sensor built into a disposable pad which is inserted into any commercially available diaper. The sensor instantaneously alerts nursing staff if a senior has soiled themselves and requires changing. Not only does this product mean that patients are attended to as soon as possible, but it also helps to restore dignity for those elderly who would otherwise be sitting in their own waste unattended.
Currently, the early stage version of Sensassure sends a pretty rudimentary signal with continuous monitoring for any commercial brief. The sensor that is built into the brief measures the moisture levels and stores that information on a cloud-based server. This cloud-based server also allows Sensassure to collect data and ideally anticipate when a particular patient will soil themselves, thereby reducing the time the patient is left with a soiled diaper theoretically down to zero.
When asked about the benefits of the cloud-based server and big data, Sensassure CEO Sameer Dhar said:
"With enough patient data we anticipate being able to generate predictions of urinary patterns. Applying this would enable Sensassure to prompt caregivers to preempt urination events so that the resident can toilet properly.
Additionally, down the line when we can get accurate enough, urinary volume is an important component of fluid balance, and the composition of urine can also give insight into the onset of UTIs and prolonged dehydration (among other things). We plan on exploring applications of Sensassure's data in the field of ongoing diagnostics in the future."
While Sensassure isn't currently saying too much about the future of this product, it's clear that there are also big implications for urine and stool analysis in the product. If later versions of Sensassure contained a means of measuring the pH balance of a patient's urine, this would allow caregivers to keep an eye on whether an infection may be present and allow them to change the patient's medication accordingly. With a stool analysis, Sensassure could possibly open doors to testing for certain types of stomach and colorectal cancers which would also save time, money and potentially prolong life.
Sensassure's two main competitors are Simavita and SCA. According to Sameer, the two key differentiators from them are:
Sensassure provides a continuous monitoring solution. Simavita and SCA have both developed solutions for the initial 72 hour period when a resident is first admitted to a care home. The companies create a customized care plan and after this period, the check and change process is manual again. Sensassure's product works 24/7, around the clock.
Sensassure is providing a complementary device that works with any commercial brief whereas the competitors have solutions that are fully embedded diapers. This is a differentiator because it doesn't require residents to switch over to a new diaper brand and it prevents Sensassure from competing in the low-margin diaper business.
Sensassure is currently being incubated in The Next 36, a non-profit that provides funding, mentorship and resources to early stage companies. Sensassure is also raising investment so keep an eye on this startup.