• Latest News

    Wednesday, May 8, 2024

    Entrepreneur, Ikenna Okezie Built Healthcare Facility, Using AI to Help People with Kidney Disease

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 37 million Americans have chronic kidney disease and nearly a million have end-stage kidney ailments. However, the majority of those affected unaware they have the disease or the rapid pace at which it can progress.  Merging medicine, innovation and business, Ikenna Okezie has built a model focused on prevention and awareness that empowers people with kidney disease to take control of their health.

    Dr. Ikenna Okezie, the mastermind behind Somatus, a Black-owned healthcare company based in Northern Virginia that is revolutionizing kidney disease management. With the help of AI, his company helps with early detection, prevention, and empowering patients to take charge of their health.

    In 2016, Okezie started Somatus with a mission to shake up how kidney disease is handled. Instead of waiting until it's too late and relying solely on dialysis, Somatus puts the focus on catching kidney issues early and giving patients more control over their health.

    Using RenalIQ, a special platform powered by AI, they monitor patients' health through machine learning and analytics. It spots people who might be at risk and offers them virtual care options, all without them needing to leave home.

    What's more, they work closely with local doctors and health plans to ensure patients get personalized care at home. In 2022, they've served over 150,000 people got a whopping $325 million in funding in 2022. This made them one of the fastest-growing healthcare startups, valued at $2.5 billion.

    "Since our inception, Somatus has always been committed to bringing superior evidence-based integrated care to patients with kidney disease, which delays disease progression, improves quality of life, and lowers total cost of care," Okezie said, according to Shoppe Black.

    In 2023, Somatus expanded its partnership with the Kidney Care Center across multiple states, enhancing patient care with local teams and advanced technology. They're committed to addressing health disparities too, as shown by signing the Health Evolution Pledge.

    In 2024, Somatus was chosen by Sun Life U.S. as a preferred partner to improve care for members with kidney and heart disease, using AI to cut costs and boost outcomes.

    With innovative technology and strong partnerships, Somatus offers hope to millions battling kidney disease, marking a new era in healthcare.

    Born in Nigeria, Okezie immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of two. He grew up in Detroit and attended public school, excelled in academics and was active in extracurricular activities. He went on to attend Yale, where he majored in Economics and was captain of the wrestling team. Okezie was awarded Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 1994 and a Rhodes and Marshall Scholar finalist. He was influenced by his older brother and father who are both medical doctors to pursue medicine.

    Three years into his medical degree at Harvard Medical School, Okezie was once again beckoned by the call of finance. He ultimately earned a joint degree in medicine and business from Harvard Business School and Harvard Medical. Instead of caring for one patient at a time, he needed to enter a career that would allow him to impact many people. Okezie wanted to be a different kind of practitioner.

    “After graduating from Harvard with an MD and an MBA, I felt an urgent need to enter a career that would allow me to impact thousands and possibly millions of people at a time. That, I believe, has been my calling. I wanted to find a way to reduce suffering for as many people as possible,” Okezie said about why he chose a career in finance.

    He worked as an engagement manager at McKinsey & Company and as managing director at the Advisory Board Company. Okezie spearheaded strategic, financial, and operational management of a $1 billion business at dialysis company DaVita. He was part of a team that improved care for patients and allowed them to live the best lives possible. Nonetheless, Okezie was frustrated with the fact that patients could only receive treatment after their kidneys were already failing. The disproportionate disparities faced by Black patients and other patients of color affected by kidney disease challenged him to think of a better model.

    Inspired by his patients strength and resilience, Okezie set out to get in front of kidney disease.

    “The unfortunate reality of health care in America is that, to this day, there are widespread disparities in medicine across many fields in the outcomes for people of color, representing real suffering. That suffering can be seen in the differential rates of maternal mortality rates, diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease and kidney transplants rates, breast cancer survival, and countless others. Changing this systemic problem for the medical establishment requires acknowledging the reality that many people of color have a lived experience that makes them distrust and mistrust the system itself,” said Okezie.

    • Blogger Comments
    • Facebook Comments


    Item Reviewed: Entrepreneur, Ikenna Okezie Built Healthcare Facility, Using AI to Help People with Kidney Disease Rating: 5 Reviewed By: BrandIconImage
    Scroll to Top