In our latest ‘Talking Out Cloud’ session, we had the privilege of sitting down with one of our valued clients  Dr. Tina Saw, CEO, Oral Genome. Dr. Saw is a luminary in the dental industry, renowned for her expertise and innovative spirit. With a fervent dedication to out-of-the-box thinking, she has carved a niche for herself in the realm of oral systemic health entrepreneurship.

Specifically, Dr. Saw shed light on the significance of selecting the right tech development partner in the creation of Oral Genome’s groundbreaking ‘Dental Saliva Analysis’ application. At the heart of our conversation was the remarkable partnership between Dr. Saw’s team and SourceFuse that brought to life an award-winning dental app to enhance dental health equity and oral healthcare.

#1 How did your idea first originate for a dental saliva analysis application? What was your objective?

What initially drew me to dentistry was helping people achieve and maintain healthy smiles. From the moment I set foot in dental school for my interview, I was driven by a passion for preventive care and promoting oral systemic health. I was deeply intrigued by the notion that many diseases could be traced back to oral health, prompting me to ponder how we could educate individuals to prioritize their oral well-being.

However, as I transitioned into private practice, I encountered a harsh reality. Despite my best intentions, I often found myself diagnosing issues only after they had already progressed significantly. It was a repetitive cycle: conducting clinical exams, identifying cavities, and recommending treatments to patch up the damage. But by then, it felt like a race against time, with limited options for intervention.

On the other hand, my patients’ frustrations mirrored my own. They would come in seeking answers, wondering why despite their efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle, they still ended up facing dental problems. Their questions echoed in my mind – “Why me? What did I do wrong?” It became increasingly clear that there was a gap in understanding between patients and practitioners, with a shared desire for prevention overshadowed by the necessity for constant fixes.

The turning point came unexpectedly during a routine trip to a home improvement store. As I perused the aisles, marveling at the array of tools used in construction, a realization struck me like a bolt of lightning. The tools of my trade – drills, fillings, and crowns – bore an uncanny resemblance to those used in carpentry. In essence, we were not just dentists; we were, in a sense, teeth carpenters, constantly repairing and rebuilding.

It was a moment of clarity that sparked a new perspective. Dentistry wasn’t just about fixing; it was about preventing, guiding, and nurturing a relationship of trust between provider and patient. But to truly fulfill this role, we needed to shift our focus from reactive treatments to proactive solutions. We needed to delve beyond the surface, and uncover the root causes of oral health issues.

And thus, the seeds of innovation were planted. It was a journey fueled by a commitment to bridging the gap between intention and action, between frustration and fulfillment. And as I embarked on this odyssey, one thing became abundantly clear – our ability to truly help our patients hinged not on our skills as fixers, but on our capacity to be true partners in their pursuit of lifelong oral health.

#2 How did you begin the process of turning your vision for a solution into tangible reality?

For me, the key to realizing my vision was all about finding the right individuals. As a dentist, I was well-versed in the technical aspects of my field, but pioneering a novel solution required expertise beyond dentistry.

So, I began my quest by exploring technologies outside of the dental realm. I reached out, asked questions, and connected with individuals who shared my vision and believed in its potential. Together, we formed a team dedicated to bringing this innovation to life. It was through this collaborative effort that I began transforming my idea into a tangible reality.

Explore SourceFuse’s custom application development offerings and contact us to get started.

#3 What has the experience been like collaborating with AWS after winning the AWS Health Equity Initiative?

Winning the AWS Health Equity Initiative was a monumental achievement for me. I still remember feeling truly humbled by the recognition, especially considering that my journey began with a simple desire to address the pressing issues I observed within my community as a dentist. The honor of being acknowledged by AWS for the impact we’ve made, particularly in rural and underserved areas, is beyond words.

The reality is, many communities across the country face significant challenges, including a shortage of dental providers and excruciatingly long wait times for appointments – sometimes over a year. To better understand these frustrations firsthand, we conducted extensive research and even employed mystery shoppers. What became glaringly evident was the dire need for accessible care options.

This realization fueled our commitment to revolutionize the delivery of dental care. Through Oral Genome, we’ve pioneered innovative approaches, such as providing preventive services directly in homes or local community centers. By eliminating barriers to access, we’re ensuring that individuals can receive the care they need without undue hardship or delay.

Our success wouldn’t have been possible without the invaluable support of partners like AWS and other health equity advocates. Together, we’ve forged meaningful collaborations with community centers and other organizations, expanding our reach and impact exponentially.

Reflecting on how we initially connected with AWS brings a sense of gratitude and nostalgia. In those early days of our startup journey, I was reaching out to anyone who might believe in our vision. AWS emerged as a beacon of support, guiding us to the right technology partners and providing unwavering encouragement along the way.

#4 What was it about SourceFuse that made developing your mobile app feel like a good fit for Oral Genome?

For me, effective communication is paramount in any partnership. I’ve always believed in fostering open lines of communication with everyone involved in a project. While I trust in the talent and expertise of the individuals handling their respective tasks, what truly resonated with me about working with SourceFuse was their commitment to constant communication and collaboration.

We schedule regular check-in meetings twice a week, which serve as valuable touchpoints to discuss progress, address any challenges, and ensure alignment on goals. Whether it’s troubleshooting issues, making necessary pivots, or simply brainstorming ideas, SourceFuse has been incredibly responsive and supportive every step of the way. This level of engagement has been instrumental, especially in a dynamic environment where adaptability is key.

Moreover, one of the key reasons we chose to partner with SourceFuse, and why they were recommended by AWS, is their robust commitment to HIPAA compliance. As we deal with sensitive patient data, ensuring security and compliance is non-negotiable. SourceFuse’s expertise in AWS healthcare and SaaS competencies provided us with the assurance that all necessary measures were in place to safeguard patient information and maintain compliance standards.

In essence, SourceFuse has not only been a reliable technology partner but also a trusted collaborator, offering invaluable support and expertise that have been essential to the success and integrity of our project.

Learn more about SourceFuse’s custom application development offerings and contact us to get started.

#5 What features does the new mobile app include and how is it benefitting both your business & patients?

Our mobile app, which SourceFuse has developed for us, started as a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), but it has evolved beyond that point. What our app essentially does is streamline the process for users, whether they’re caretakers, patients, or dental providers. It’s designed to be user-friendly and versatile, accommodating various roles under a single profile.

When users first register on the app, they’re prompted to answer healthcare-related questions before proceeding to the testing phase. Our testing process is incredibly straightforward. We provide a test kit with a QR code that users scan to connect with the app. Once the kit ID is entered, our computer vision technology ensures the accuracy of the testing process by calibrating against a known curve.

What sets our mobile app apart is its intuitive interface. We’ve invested heavily in the user experience aspect, ensuring that anyone, regardless of their level of expertise, can easily navigate through the testing process without frustration.

After completing the test, users simply take a photo of their test card. The image is then sent to our computer vision system for analysis. Within moments, users receive comprehensive results and recommendations regarding their dental health. These results can be shared with their dental provider or reviewed at their convenience.

Working closely with SourceFuse, we’ve refined every aspect of the app to prioritize usability and efficiency. Our goal is to empower users to take control of their dental health with ease and confidence.

#6 What advice do you have for entrepreneurs navigating collaborations with various technology partners, scientific teams, and third parties?

As the CEO of a startup, wearing multiple hats comes with the territory. Over the past few years, I’ve taken on the role of a project manager, ensuring oversight across our scientific, technology, and design teams. It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of each team’s contributions because, ultimately, the responsibility falls on my shoulders to integrate everything seamlessly.

Now, we’re at an exhilarating stage in our journey as we prepare to deploy the product. With multiple scientific teams and technology partners involved, it’s all hands on deck to bring the final product to fruition.

#7 What was your experience like working with the SourceFuse team?

My experience with the SourceFuse team has been absolutely delightful. They’ve seamlessly integrated themselves into the fabric of Oral Genome, embodying our mission and values as if they were part of our own team. What truly stands out is their unwavering dedication and attention to detail.

In the midst of tight deadlines and external pressures, SourceFuse has consistently risen to the occasion, ensuring that we meet our commitments on time. Their proactive approach and constant communication have alleviated much of the stress associated with project management. It’s reassuring to know that they’re not just vendors but genuine partners who are equally invested in our success.

During moments of uncertainty or pressure, it’s comforting to feel like we’re all in this together. SourceFuse’s unwavering support and camaraderie have been invaluable, serving as a constant source of encouragement and motivation. Having them by our side feels like having an extended team, cheering us on every step of the way.