Helpsy Health’s Sangeeta Agarawal | From the Streets of India to Bringing Actionable Hope at Your Fingertips
Sangeeta Agarawal: The inspiring journey of a trailblazing woman entrepreneur and nurse innovator, empowering health and hope through Helpsy Health's groundbreaking technology.
Coming from a very traditional family in India, where no woman had ever worked as a professional, I was the first in my family to pursue higher education in the United States and receive my Master’s degree in computer engineering from Arizona State University in 2003.
From there, I began my career as a software engineer in Silicon Valley, working for many companies, including IBM and Motorola/Google. On my own, I passionately worked on a prototype for mobile video streaming which eventually got acquired by Skype.
However, as my career trajectory in the technology field was moving up, my own health was declining. Dealing with health challenges left me physically and emotionally shaken, therefore shifting my perspective. Thankfully, my team of healthcare professionals and nurses provided the resources I needed to regain my health and it was that experience that inspired me to devote my life work to empower others to take control of their own health and to provide the help and hope so they would never have to be alone in their journey towards wellness.
This true-life experience, led me to change my career and being studies in integrative medicine, by training in both eastern and western medicine. I devoted the next decade as a researcher, oncology nurse, and integrative medicine practitioner at The Mayo Clinic and University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) Cancer Center. Over time, I fell in love with the field of nursing, as it resonated with my own principles of providing continuity of care and whole-health wellness to enable patients living life to their fullest.
Nurses lead by serving and advocating for their patients, which I strive to do in my own walk. However, as an oncology nurse, I saw many complications that could have been avoided if patients had easier access to much needed information and experts, especially when they were at home by themselves without clinician support. As a nurse, I wanted to be there for my patients, but I knew I was not physically capable of doing this for everyone, thus my desire to find a way to improve on this. With that motivation, I started working on technology that I envisioned to be a continuous support system throughout a patient’s journey - a portable nurse inside every patients’ pocket.
My research work gained social support and so I decided to start a company to share resources on a larger scale. To support my dream, I joined an entrepreneurship accelerator at the University of California at San Francisco to figure out how to build a commercial company from my research. From there, Helpsy Health, the world's first Artificial intelligence nurse for holistic symptom management and navigation to empower patients through integrative technologies, was born.
Helpsy Health leverages artificial intelligence systems and evidence-based modalities to develop a comprehensive care plan that anticipates the emotional, physical and social needs of the patient. Helpsy Health provides a wealth of information to patients at their fingertips.
Currently, Helpsy Health is used by more than 20,000 patients and thousands of employers nationwide, with significant cost savings for insurance companies and employers, averaging $5,000 to $15,000 per patient going through a complex health issue.
Since its founding, Helpsy Health has won awards, such as first place in the HIMSS’ 2019 Nurse Pitch™ competition, second place in the 2019 BioPharm America Xcelerate Startup Pitch, and was nominated as Top 10 Companies for Best Employer Wellness & Prevention.
I am humbled and honored by what I have achieved so far. I grew up in an environment with no space for women to speak up, but now I make it a point to create my own place as a woman entrepreneur and nurse innovator in the healthcare field. I have built a life and career from scratch, but I am just getting started.
Even though the journey can be challenging at times, trust yourself and lean on your network for expertise and mentorship. Additionally, it is important to remember the reason you started the journey, which will keep you balanced and grounded to focus on the goal!