New app to help families better communicate during pregnancy
Published by The Record Argus:
Ohanalink Technologies, a new Hermitage-based tech company, recently launched a new mobile app for healthcare consumers called Ohanalink Baby, designed to improve communications for families, friends, patients and healthcare professionals during a pregnancy.
Ohanalink Technologies CEO and founder Kara Wasser was inspired to create the app after she and her family experienced difficulties in communication during her sister’s delivery at an Erie hospital.
“We are at our most vulnerable when we are experiencing a healthcare event,” she said. “As a patient or family member of a patient, we have to expect ‘gaps’ in communication whether it’s related to diagnosis, scheduling, testing, etc.”
According to Wasser, the vision for Ohanalink was to solve the problems in communication gaps in healthcare, providing a more positive experience for those involved, especially in light of restrictions on hospitals due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ohanalink is inspired by the Hawaiian term for family, which, Wasser says is the “one thing that remains constant and time-tested and is truly at the core of our universe.” It was this belief in family that is the driving force behind Ohanalink’s technology.
The new mobile app, aimed towards 25- to 39- year-olds, allows expectant parents to connect their circle of family and friends throughout their pregnancy journey. Users can preselect their groups to deliver real-time messages, updates, reports, images and more, providing a centralized location for all pregnancy communications.
In June, Ohanalink Technologies was one of 17 tech companies in central and northern Pennsylvania to receive funding from early-stage investor Ben Franklin Technology Partners/CNP. The program will allow Ohanalink to further develop and commercialize innovative solutions.
Ohanalink Technology’s emergence into the healthcare communication market means the company projects the addition of 30-40 jobs in the next 24 months. The new Pennsylvania jobs will revolve around tech and development, sales and sales support.
The Ben Franklin Technology Partners were impressed by Wasser’s vision and innovation in the market.
“What my colleagues and I discovered is that Kara was able to put to use all the mentoring we provided, was committed to bringing high-paying technology jobs to northwestern Pennsylvania, and proactively adjusted to whatever situation or challenges she came across,” Ben Franklin Technology Partner Ben Slawin. “Those are just some of the reasons why we invested — twice — in Ohanalink Technologies.”
Wasser wasn’t always a technology innovator. Coming from a career in real estate lending, she never anticipated building her own product.
“If you had told me in 2017 that I would be hiring 10 people and managing a development team and doing all these things, I would have said ‘no way,’” she said. “There’s just things that you’re not ready to comprehend in the beginning. Now I’m just going after that next step that’s going to push me forward and focusing on that.”
Wasser and her family have since used the technology after her husband was injured at work.
“I was able to add my family and friends very quickly and everyone got the same message at the same time,” she said. “There was no telephone game.”
Those in the group chat were also able to send her husband well wishes and check up on him, she said.
Though originally from Erie, Wasser fell in love with Hermitage when she moved there 15 years ago.
“I have kids and want them to have opportunities and jobs to stay here for,” she said. “We’ve had opportunities to go other places, but we’re happy here.”
Ohanalink Technologies is currently looking toward launching Ohanalink Health as a more general healthcare platform than Ohanalink Baby. Whereas the technology is almost identical, Ohanalink Health offers a more neutral environment for all other healthcare needs.
“We are excited to bring to the market new communication channels that can be used by patients and their families, that offer what other social platforms can’t, when we all need it most,” Wasser said.