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Meet the founders: Harm-Jan Wessels and Marcel Alberti

16 April 2024 Meet the pioneering duo behind HealthSage AI: Harm-Jan Wessels and Marcel Alberti. Together we dive into their story – from the initial spark of their company idea, into the launch of HealthSage AI’s first applications and securing substantial seed funding – as they discuss the power of AI in making healthcare more efficient and effective.  

Let’s start at the beginning: How did HealthSage AI come about?

Marcel: “Harm-Jan and I met while working at Philips. We recognized we had a mutual interest in improving healthcare through innovation, fuelled by our professional backgrounds and our first-hand experiences with the various challenges in healthcare. Eventually we each went our own way outside of Philips, but we kept in touch. And as generative AI began to take off, we both saw its potential for healthcare. We realised AI is key to addressing many of healthcare’s current challenges, and we wanted to be part of this revolution.”  

Harm-Jan: “Generative AI represents the most significant technological shift in my career. I realized that with AI, we can support healthcare professionals to focus on what’s most important: patient care. As a serial entrepreneur I have built multiple successful companies in the health tech space. And I believe that HealthSage AI may have the biggest impact of them all.”  

That’s ambitious! How do you plan to achieve all this?

Harm-Jan: “Our goal with HealthSage AI is to provide a comprehensive platform that will offer AI tools to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare delivery. In other words: a secure environment where various AI models, tools, and applications – all tailored for healthcare – can be built, customized, and integrated in the workflow. We will develop some of these solutions ourselves, but moreover, we also want to invite others to use our platform to contribute their innovations.”  

Marcel: “That’s why we embrace the open-source philosophy: inviting anyone to review, customize, and contribute to our code. We aim to build a community of health AI innovators and users – ensuring the platform and solutions are safe, secure, and always state of the art.”  

Your launching application is Note-to-FHIR. Can you explain in layman’s terms what it does?

Marcel: “Healthcare professionals often work with electronic health records, computer programs that store all relevant patient information. This information needs to be placed in the right fields to be processed correctly by these systems. However, much of the data within these systems is ‘unstructured.’ Often, clinical notes are entered into a ‘free text’ field, which some healthcare professionals jokingly refer to as the ‘chat field’: a place where they can enter lengthy text. This means crucial information is not properly organized within the system. That’s where Note-to-FHIR comes in. Because if this information were correctly categorized, it could be used for various automated processes.” 

Harm-Jan: “Note-to-FHIR converts unstructured information into FHIR output, an international standard for healthcare data exchange. In essence, Note-to-FHIR structures the data so other computer programs can then do their ‘magic’. This could mean automatically generating a summary of key patient and treatment information  –  even if the info was originally entered into a ‘chat field.’ It could also enable the automatic generation of discharge letters or transform complex clinical notes into language that is easily understandable for patients, making them better informed in their own care journeys. And by automatically analyzing the data, healthcare professionals can be supported in choosing the right treatment or medication for their patients.”  

And now, what’s next for HealthSage AI?

Harm-Jan: “We are very proud to announce that we have raised a €3M seed investment from a set of notable investors. The seed round is led by Peak, known for their investments in early-stage SaaS, marketplace, and platform companies. Co-investors are Healthy-Capital, who are digital health specialists, and Rubio Impact Ventures, who are true impact investors. Together with two seasoned entrepreneurs in health tech, Jaap Maljers and Jeroen Tas, we have a diverse and experienced investor base that will support and challenge us as entrepreneurs.”  

Marcel: “This funding enables us to expand our team, continue to develop our products and bring them to market, and thus create solutions that have real impact for both healthcare professionals and their patients. We’re really excited to enter this next stage with HealthSage AI.”  

Founding a company is hard work. How do you spend your free time?

Harm-Jan: “Well, next to work – which for me most of the time doesn’t feel like work! – I love spending time with my family and friends travelling, doing sports like golf, padel, hiking and being in the mountains. Next to that, I’ve had the opportunity in recent years to become a private pilot. That’s been quite an experience: a totally different world, with – as you would expect – a totally different perspective on the world.”  

Marcel: “As a dad of a young family with three lively kids aged 7, 9, and 11, most of my downtime is spent hanging out with them and getting involved in all their adventures. Whenever I manage to snag some extra time, I’m usually catching up with family and friends. Balancing dad duties with running a company keeps me on my toes, but honestly, it’s where I draw a lot of my energy and inspiration from—it’s all part of the fun!” 



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