Startup Milwaukee ignites partnership series promoting enterprise, startup collaboration


Startup Milwaukee announces it will launch business and startup partnership series, Ignition, to place emphasis on how established companies can assist in the growth of high-potential startups.

The event will take place November 9, during Milwaukee Startup Week where Milwaukee-based Aurora Healthcare and startup EmOpti, from Brookfield, will discuss the genesis of their partnership and how it has helped growth for the young health-tech company.

Founded in 2015, EmOpti uses analytics, telemedicine technologies, and command centre coordination to optimize clinical and financial performance throughout the healthcare sector. Its technology allows doctors to remotely assess and diagnose patients and is currently used in three Aurora waiting rooms.

This platform claims to reduce patient waiting times by up to 25%. This is done by giving patients preliminary tests before seeing the doctor, so they have a better idea about what could be wrong with them before they are called upon.

“It kind of gets the whole process going instead of having that frustrating waiting process for hours upfront,” said Dr. Edward Barthell, EmOpti founder and CEO, who will speak at the event alongside Mike Rodgers, Director of Strategic Innovation at Aurora.

The US medical system sees over 140 million visits each year, with 11.2 million of those visits resulting in Emergency Room admission. Earlier this year, the Association of American Medical Colleges projected a nationwide shortage of up to over one hundred and thousand physicians by 2030.

Last year, the University of Wisconsin revealed that waiting time depends on the type of problem the patient has. A simple, diagnosable issue, such as an ankle injury, whereas something such as numbness is considered a more complex problem which doctors prefer to overlook.

The highest average waiting time in Milwaukee is Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital. By comparison, Aurora St Luke’s Medical Center has the quickest process from entering to ER to admission by a doctor.

According to Barthell, EmOpti helped 50 thousand remote consultancies take place across three Aurora ERs, and the startup is planning on taking that technology further.

“We rolled it out over the course of the last year plus. Now, we’re planning to roll it out to multiple emergency departments across their whole system,” he said.

Entrepreneurship in Wisconsin is thriving. Most obvious is Verona-based healthcare giant Epic Systems, a software company which keeps electronic healthcare records and had a revenue of $2.5 billion in 2016.

Many former Epic employees are now working around the healthtech industry in Wisconsin. One of them, Dan Blake, is a partner at HealthX Ventures, a venture capital firms that focuses investment on IT healthcare companies.

In September, Concordia University Wisconsin hosted the BioFoward Wisconsin Healthcare Innovation Pitch contest. There, healthtech entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to be accepted into the program and receive mentoring and take part in workshops throughout October. Selected startups will be presenting their pitches to a board of venture capitalists at the Bridge to Cure’s second biannual HIP event on November 8.

Aurora was one of EmOpti’s first clients after formation, and its high profile has since gone on to do wonders for the EmOpti, which has raised $5 million from angel and strategic investors, Startup Milwaukee President and Skills Pipeline Founder, Matt Cordio, hopes the event will lead other businesses to similar success.

“We feel like established companies can be catalysts for startups and we hope to see more established companies get involved in helping build the next generation of businesses in Wisconsin,” he said.

The Startup Milwaukee event is free to attend, those interested can register here.

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