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Sag Harbor physician scrubs back in to fight the coronavirus

Sag Harbor resident and retired physician Soumi Eachempati

Sag Harbor resident and retired physician Soumi Eachempati in an undated photo.

Sag Harbor resident Soumi Eachempati spent nearly two decades working as a physician, trauma surgeon and surgical ICU director. 

But in 2017, he became an entrepreneur, founding Chelsea Health Solutions, a company that makes its home out of a coworking space in Southampton called The Spur.

Little did he know how his two hats would come together just a few short years later. 

This week, Chelsea Health unveiled a new mobile and web-based platform called Cleared 4 Work, which could help employers determine which employees can return to work in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s an outgrowth of another product Eachempati had developed called Flu Checker, an app that allows those who are ill to determine how serious their symptoms are and what course of action they should take. Both emerged after Chelsea Health’s success with gonogo, an app that helps patients with a variety of medical issues determine whether they need to visit the emergency room.

Chelsea Health employees built their newest coronavirus-specific platform over the last six weeks. Eachempati told The Point that it could help employers determine how to best open up again. Employees would complete an online questionnaire asking for their symptoms, whether they’ve been tested, and whether their spouses or children have had the coronavirus, and employers would see on a dashboard whether those employees were cleared to return to work. If the platform becomes widely used, it also could be used by local and state governments as a heat map of sorts, to determine where virus hotspots continue to develop, Eachempati said.

On a side note, even as Eachempati, 54, continues to refine the new platform, he also has become one of the thousands of doctors to return to the intensive care unit to help during the pandemic. He is volunteering for five 12-hour shifts a week in a Manhattan hospital ward, treating COVID-19 patients. He’s temporarily staying in an apartment in Manhattan to avoid exposing anyone at his Long Island home, or in his travels, to the virus.

Chelsea Health has just three full-time sales staff members for now. But Ashley Heather, a partner in Chelsea Health, told The Point that the company’s involvement in The Spur could help the company ramp up if the newest platform takes off, since the coworking space has 150 members, who could be clients, but who could also connect the company with new employees and resources.

“We’re very lucky to be a growing company, and to be able to tap into that network,” Heather said.

For Eachempati, each day is a mix of treating patients, and doing as much research as he can on the virus, in the hopes that all of that work will help public officials and employers move forward in the post-pandemic landscape. 

“For both my positions, it’s important for me to know everything about the disease,” Eachempati said.