BME graduate students Tom Cotton and Dan Yasoshima have developed a novel patient-centered communication device. Undergraduate team member Jeren Koh has assisted with the development of the second generation of the device. The team’s faculty advisor is Dr. Patrick Kumavor.
The device, “YouCOMM: a Personalized Communication System”, promotes quality care by enhancing patient-caregiver communication. This is done using a method that allows users’ specific needs to be communicated instantaneously to caregiving staff, allowing for prioritization based on which patients have the most critical need. Furthermore, the system is capable of encompassing a greater variety of patient populations than currently available commercial products. The YouCOMM system functions in a manner that makes it easy to use for traditional patient as well as, those with motor impairments, maternity patients, post-surgical patients, patients hooked up to multiple IVs, and others whose motion may be restricted or hindered in some fashion.
Funding for the device has been secured through four sources totaling $35.5K. In order of receipt these sources are the National Science Foundation Accelerate UConn Grant ($3000.00 – October 2017), the Aetna Foundation Innovate Health Yale Grant ($2500.00 – November 2017), the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Summer Fellowship ($15,000.00 – March 2018), and most recently the University of Connecticut Innovation Quest (First Prize – $15,000.00- April 2018).
The device received approval from the UConn Storrs Institutional Review Board (IRB) for clinical trials at UConn’s onsite student infirmary in early January (2018). These clinical trials showed incredibly promising results and highly positive feedback from real life patient and caregivers alike. The team is currently working alongside the UConn Health IRB to incorporate the device in a large scale clinical trial at the UConn Health center in Farmington later this year.
The team has also signed a letter of engagement with the UConn Law Clinic and a provisional patent has been submitted (3/28/18). The team is now taking steps to file a formal device patent. Furthermore, the device is being reviewed by the FDA to determine the applicable regulatory pathway. The team, with the assistance of the law firm Murtha Cullina, is working towards forming a company (LLC) around the device.
Tom Cotton and Dan Yasoshima (pictured above) are the founders of YouCOMM. YouCOMM began as their Senior Design (Capstone project) and, due to the strong entrepreneurial environment that currently exists at UConn, in addition to their commendable personal drive, they have been able to push the device along through its first clinical trial and are setting the stage for the second. The ultimate goal is to identify any remaining drawbacks of the device, refine their design if needed and then move to commercialization.
Dan Yasoshima, YouCOMM Co-Founder, poses as a patient during a demonstration of the device concept
The team, along with newest member, Jeren Koh, is finalizing the design of the second generation (Gen. 2) of the device and has also applied to the Innovation Quest grant.
In summary, the current status of the venture is as follows: