Callie (Yan) Xue (‘CX’) was originally an internal medicine doctor in China. She has helped over 3,000 patients, over 50% of whom were chronic cardiovascular disease patients. She then came to the U.S.A., studied Economics at UCLA and became a CPA at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). She worked as tax consultant for Fortune 500 companies and Silicon Valley start-ups, providing tax services and strategies in public financing, auditing, corporate M&A and wealth planning etc.
Callie’s commitment and passion in digital health technology was prompted by the sudden death of her (youngest) uncle, who passed away due to a heart attack. She started Welbean, a tech company which uses mobile computing technologies to provide personal health assistance and promotes a heart-healthy lifestyle. The Welbean Heartscope is the world’s first heart muscle performance monitor. It helps people understand their heart conditions, reduce the risk of heart disease, and identify possible heart problems early by recording and analyzing heart sounds and heart performance data, such as heart motility, contractility etc.
Welbean won first prize in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) start-up contest in December 2016 and is an American Heart Association Health Tech Competition Finalist 2016. Callie will be speaking more about Welbean at the IEEE International Conference in Ireland in 2017. Hon. Pauline Truong (GlobePreneurs – ‘GP’) recently had discussions with Callie Xue on how Welbean disrupts the personal health industry and minimizes the effects of heart disease.
GP: What was your inspiration for founding Welbean?
CX: A few years ago, my uncle suddenly died from heart attack, just a month before his 40th birthday. Each year, millions like my uncle die from heart disease, the number one cause of adult death. Over 80% of heart disease is preventable. As a former physician, I want to help minimize the effects of heart disease.
GP: How does the Welbean Heartscope disrupt the healthcare industry?
CX: Welbean Heartscope is the world’s first heart muscle performance monitor, analyzing heart motility, contractility, stress and heart rate.
Heart Motility measures the dynamics of heart muscle flexibility. A young healthy heart is soft and elastic.
Heart Contractility measures the strength and workload of your heart muscle. High blood pressure, smoking or being overweight may push the heart contractility out of normal parameters.
Heart muscle performance monitoring may help people identify possible heart problems early. Heart muscle function changes long before medical conditions appear. Most importantly, functional change is reversible, so we can help prevent heart disease.
Welbean applies sophisticated research knowledge into life and provides quality medical data for your heart health in a few seconds. It’s a much better and more accurate way to measure the effectiveness of your cardio workout and physical activities than just using the heart rate only.
GP: Where do you see Welbean in five years time?
CX: In five years time, we hope that Welbean heart performance analysis will be a standard method for heart health maintenance and disease prevention. Like brushing teeth, people will check their heart performance to manage and plan the day each morning accordingly. After running or physical activities, we can check our heart performance data to evaluate the health outcome.
Our goal is to use mobile computing technology to provide personal health assistance and help improve quality of life. Our deep learning AI system will develop more automated health management solutions. Hence, Welbean promotes a new era of heart-healthy lifestyle, offering low cost and high quality health solutions.
GP: What do you see as the biggest trend and challenge for healthcare and well-being startups in the coming years?
CX: As our life expectancy is longer, everyone needs to take ownership of his/her health. More people will use mobile technology to manage their health life. Until now, the most popular health applications are heart rate monitors, activity trackers or sleep trackers. Heart rate tells so little about a person’s heart conditions. You can tell your activity level and sleep time without the use of any devices. People need more professional health and medical assistance and advice, rather than devices just fashion or fun. That’s why Welbean is focusing on providing quality medical data and services.
Healthcare and well-being startups should think more about bringing real value or benefit to their customers, instead of chasing trends. However, applying sophisticated professional knowledge to real-life is not easy. It requires solid professional knowledge and experience, a deep understanding of user needs and a good relationship with the healthcare system.
GP: How did you switch from being a CPA at PwC to being and entrepreneur? What skills helped you with this switch?
CX: As a CPA, I had the opportunity to work with the most prominent leaders and entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley. Their entrepreneurial spirit always inspired my desire to make a difference. When I suddenly lost my youngest uncle, I realized that with the most advanced technology, we know a lot, but little about our own health.
As a former internal medicine doctor and business professional, I felt I was the right person to ‘make a difference’ in personal health technology. I have solid medical knowledge, helped over 3,000 patients and know the startup business. My professional communication skills helped me recruit an outstanding engineering team and gain strong support from the community. It’s all about teamwork, and together we can make it happen!