For local entrepreneurs Shayne Woods and Maurice Saliaba, having access to reliable data analytics is integral to the growth of their new business ventures. For help, they turned to Dr. Ashish Gupta, Associate Professor of Analytics for the UTC College of Business.

Left to right: Cigna employee Eliza DeLaughter, CEO of FwdHealth Shayne Woods. CTO of FwdHealth Flynn Williford, CEO of Picture Wellness Maurice Saliba, UTC Professor Dr. Ashish Gupta

Left to right: Cigna employee Eliza DeLaughter, CEO of FwdHealth Shayne Woods. CTO of FwdHealth Flynn Williford, CEO of Picture Wellness Maurice Saliba, UTC Professor Dr. Ashish Gupta

Woods and Saliaba recently formed a partnership between their companies—FwdHealth and Picture Wellness—to create a community-based wellness initiative.

FwdHealth, a healthcare technology company, provides mobile-based health management tools for personal and corporate clients. Picture Wellness, a health and wellness consulting company, offers motivational and educational services to improve the health of those living with chronic conditions.

Their new joint initiative will use activity data collected from mobile apps, like a step tracker or food log, to gauge the progress of participants. Analyzing this data will help Woods, Saliaba, and their partners better understand each individual patient’s health journey and spot emerging trends in the region.

“Analyzing the data allows us to read between the lines and spot trends. Using user-submitted data and other available data, we can answer questions like, ‘How does disease spread through a city?’ ‘Does it follow along an interstate?’ ‘Is it related to income?’” Woods said.

“Data is our blueprint. Especially when we want to change our healthcare system from a reactive system to a proactive one. We need data. As we’re climbing this mountain, data is our foothold. We can’t move forward without it,” he continued.

According to Saliaba, CEO of Picture Wellness, the data is different from what is collected in traditional research studies.

“This data comes from real world. This is real research taking place in the community. Research from people who go to work, who struggle with their finances, families, and lives just like the rest of us. With this data, we can see and predict how change happens when it’s not in a controlled environment,” he said.

Plans are in the works to have several UTC students are assisting on this project.

“Students from the College of Business will be assisting me in developing models and algorithms for analysis,” Gupta said. “The data analytics program is focused on not only helping the local community, but also providing our students with practical experience. This project is a perfect way to bring the two together.”

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