When sophomore medical students Elliott Crooks And Yvette Chu They met each other in mdplus The class event focused on healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship, and they quickly bonded over a specific observation: Where were all the non-medical students?
The lack of diversity in disciplines wasn’t necessarily surprising — MDplus is a national student organization dedicated to aspiring creative medical students and clinicians, after all — but seeing that group in a room talking about innovation seemed to change something for Chu.
At the meeting, the group started talking about the areas of healthcare that need improvement, and how to do so.
Cho proposal? “Why not get people from engineering, law, business, all kinds of different backgrounds together in one room, and work through these problems together?”
Crooks, who had never met Chu before, was immediately on board.
“There’s really no reason why a nursing student, a medical student, and a business student shouldn’t collaborate together to create something beneficial for the patient,” he explained.
When working to create a product or service for the hospital and its patients, there are many elements that must be considered outside of the clinical solution. Legal aspects, regulatory considerations, financial or business decisions, and specific technical needs such as custom software are common concerns.
“Getting that one point of view from only the medical students, it wasn’t necessarily (…) the best approach to creativity,” Crookes recalls.
Within a week, the new friends were up and running and founding the company hypercase. Soon after, the founding team expanded to 12 like-minded, passionate medical studentsFaculty advisor at Professor Joseph Jankowskiand a board of expert advisors.
“We’ve spent a lot of time building a team of (…) ambitious (independent) students who are interested in collaboration,” Crooks said.
Now in its second year at Case Western Reserve, HyperCase is a multidisciplinary, student-led incubator focused on meeting clinical needs in the healthcare field. Its members are divided into groups of 4 to 6, and are then connected with hospitals such as the Cleveland Clinic to identify problems that have the opportunity to come up with useful multidisciplinary solutions.
Experts are brought in as needed, and HyperCase benefits from contacts through CWRU faculty such as Michael GoldbergAssociate Vice President and Executive Director Vail Entrepreneurship Institutewho can connect teams with mentors in their areas of focus.
He was one of those mentors Justin Bellante (CWR ’01), Founder and Former CEO of BioIQ, the first digital home health testing platform for early disease detection, recently acquired by LetsGetChecked. Pelanti directed the team for VoxCorAn innovative solution aimed at providing clinicians with a tool for early diagnosis and better monitoring of congestive heart failure.
“(Pelanti) really encouraged us,” said Kathleen Vlastaris, a sophomore medical student on the VoxCor team who serves as HyperCase’s outreach and recruiting officer.
“I got this confirmation from somebody who’s been through CWRU who’s an alumni, who’s really gone down that road, to look at my team and look at our idea and say, ‘You can do this, and you need to keep pushing,'” I think was the moment he started. It feels real.”
“We were businessmen.”
VoxCor also includes the medical student Milan Pateland a Math and Computer Science major Andrew Yeand an MBA candidate Matthew Glarus. Last year, the team took home $1,000 and second place in the research track Morgenthaler-Pavey Startup Competition.
Vlastaris said that now that she had the opportunity to participate in the first year of HyperCase, she could easily describe the experience to recruiting when serving in her officer role.
“You’ll have the opportunity to compete in the CWRU startup competitions at think(box), which is incredibly valuable,” she explained. “You will gain skills. You are going to achieve achievements. This is a very valuable club to be a part of.”
Since its inception, this highly valued result has been at the heart of HyperCase’s mission. Co-Chairs Chu and Crooks, as well as the rest of the leadership team, have worked hard to build an impactful innovation organization that is on track.
I look forward
“We have already created a curriculum to guide and educate you through different stages of innovation,” said Zhou. “How do you come up with an idea, how do you test it (…) how do you build something out of nothing so you can solve a problem in healthcare.”
“We welcome anyone and everyone who wants to be creative, who wants to make a difference in healthcare.”
The team behind VoxCor is now working on becoming an LLC and developing their idea into a product. It can turn into an income-generating startup. It is this exciting result that drives HyperCase officials to continue promoting the club.
Want to hear from the HyperCase team? Watch a video at CWRU Veale Entrepreneurship Institute’s Instagram page.