One of the vexing problems in health care is how to securely and effectively share patient medical information among care providers. Medicom, a Raleigh-based startup – whose founders were NC State University undergraduate students when they began developing their startup – is providing a solution.
Malcolm Benitz (Poole College ’17), Medicom co-founder and chief executive officer, credits NC State’s think and do with enabling the founders to launch and grow their business.
“In 2015, an oncologist at a national oncology delivery network presented a major challenge: not being able to have access and to share a patient’s entire imaging history with the patient’s medical care community,” Benitz said in an email interview with Poole College communications.
“My two partners, Michael Rosenberg and Chase Ballard, and I saw an opportunity to address the challenge in a unique and innovative way that would improve the value of care ,” he said.
They established Medicom shortly after, aiming to address health care providers’ inability to access a patient’s imaging history at all points of care. “We were all undergraduates at the time,” Benitz said. “I studied business administration with a concentration in entrepreneurship; Michael studied industrial engineering; and Chase studied political science.”
“We built a decentralized network for sharing and accessing patient information among providers, patients and insurance payors. By enabling all parties involved in a patient’s journey of care to have access to imaging history, we give them the visibility they need to make the appropriate decisions and provide the greatest value of care,” he said.
“Medicom has grown tremendously over the course of the last three years,” Benitz said, “including expanding its suite of solutions and adding a tool for searching, accessing and de-identifying patient information for machine learning. This advances academic research and AI development for technology firms.”
From its current headquarters in a 16th floor suite of the Two Hanover Square building in downtown Raleigh, Medicom’s Health Information Network has expanded nationally and globally. It also is now the sole source contractor to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
“In July 2017 we completed a financing round of $5 million that included members of the Wolfpack Investor Network, and we have since doubled the size of our team,” Benitz said.
Think and Do: Challenging Students to Engineer Better Outcomes
Reflecting on his student years, Bentiz said, “one of the biggest takeaways for me is the way the university teaches its students to look at challenges with an outside-the-box mentality. NC State’s think and do is evident across the institution and in how it prepares students for their futures,” he said.
“The Poole College of Management emphasizes this within its programs, particularly in the entrepreneurship program. The college brings real world challenges and experiences to the classroom where students are guided on engineering solutions for better outcomes. This approach to problems has carried over to our company and the way we look at the challenges in today’s health care,” Benitz said. “We strive to bring unique and innovative solutions to drive value for all parties involved in a patient’s journey of care.”
First Andrews Launch Accelerator Cohort
“NC State continues to be a strong resource for our company,” Benitz said. “As alumni from NC State, we were proud to be part of the first class to go through the Andrews Launch Accelerator. Through this program, we worked directly with NC State on a weekly basis and were able to have access to valuable resources within the Wolfpack network as well as the broader community,” he said.
“We continue to be involved with the entrepreneurship community at NC State by staying actively involved with its organizations and the faculty. This past September, we were given the opportunity to present to the NC State Board of Trustees and showcase how the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic and faculty at NC State were pivotal in our early days and how they have helped us grow,” Benitz said.
“I can speak from my own experience that NC State and the Poole College of Management believe in the work of their students and provide unparalleled support to ensure that they are successful with any path they choose,” he said.
Preparation to Tackle Real World Challenges
“NC State does a fantastic job not only in establishing the mindset of how to approach problems in a critical manner, but also in providing a wealth of resources to its students. From the Entrepreneurship Clinic to the Andrews Launch Accelerator, NC State ensures that it is able to provide their students with all the resources they need to take on real world challenges. The university truly embodies think and do, and I believe that our strong relationship with NC State, particularly the Poole College of Management, highlights its commitment to entrepreneurship,” Benitz said.
“The faculty does an outstanding job with bringing real experiences into the classroom and molding education to adapt to the ever-changing business world. Poole also provides programs for students to gain valuable insight, such as working with startups, learning from other entrepreneurs, and meeting other alumni who have forged their own paths in entrepreneurship,” he said.
“My team and I are proud to hail from such an amazing university and especially thankful for the efforts put forth to help us grow. The university’s resources, including Professor Lewis Sheats and Dr. Thomas Miller as well as the financial support of other alumni through the Wolfpack Investor Network has been essential to the success of Medicom.”