February 26, 2001
19-year-old student entrepreneur aims to
provide healthcare industry's 'missing link'
Siddhartha Rao is a young man in a hurry. On Thursday (3/1), the 19-year-old will present his biomedical information hardware and software platform and business plan in the 14th annual Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurial Competition at Purdue University.
There are four other finalist teams competing for a total of $54,000 in prizes.
The high-tech face-off takes place from 8 a.m. to noon in the Krannert Auditorium, with awards being presented at 2 p.m.
Rao, the son of a Purdue civil engineering professor, says he's ready to supply the healthcare industry with a new information standard: PhysioChart, "a wireless, digital bioinformatic unit." Rao and his I/O Medical Systems Inc. management team will make their pitch to a panel of venture capitalist judges. First prize is $20,000.
Rao got interested in biomedical information during childhood through long stays at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. His hard copy medical files stand four feet tall.
"I learned firsthand in the hospital, and then quantitatively in our marketing research, that patients are suffering," Rao said. "Being able to capture, record, transmit and make accurate data available to doctors is the missing link in the healthcare system today."
With PhysioChart, an 8 1/2-by-11-inch electronic tablet, Rao will attempt to make a quantum leap forward in the quality and availability of patient information and the medical care built upon that information.
PhysioChart is more than a nifty device and academic project. Rao says the Burton Morgan prize money if his team wins should be just about enough to put together the prototype. He estimates he and his teammates can complete the prototype in six weeks.
Rao and his team of five also have done extensive marketing research, gotten the backing of industry groups and forged alliances with big-name companies to provide applications inputs, such as patients' EKGs, incompatibilities, prescription histories in short, a patient's complete, cross-referenced medical history.
Rao visited Microsoft last week. His vision is, in Windows fashion, to set the standard for the delivery of digitized healthcare information. He estimates the market size for the product is $4.85 billion, growing at 7 percent per year.
Rao's team is backed by the Indiana Telemedicine Incubator, a collaboration of corporations and universities, including Purdue and Indiana universities and Clarian Health Partners. The incubator is funded by the Indiana 21st Century Research and Technology Fund.
Rao is finishing the requirements for his Purdue bachelor's degree in mathematics. He's worked for Infosys Technologies and Nortel Networks, both at a young age. I/O Medical Systems Inc. has patents pending on PhysioChart.
The other finalists in the entrepreneurial competition are: Griffin Analytical Technologies, with a portable mass spectrometer; Verifocal Systems, which offers corporate application portals; MERECORDS.com, a Web-based hospital record-keeping and information system; and Flexbook, an inexpensive e-book reader.
CONTACT: Rao, (765) 497-3958, firstname.lastname@example.org; Shailendra Mehta, Burton Morgan Entrepreneurial Competition director, (765) 494-5703, email@example.com.
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