Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Senior Accounting Major in the Running to BecomeEntrepreneur Magazine’s College Entrepreneur of 2010

When senior accounting major Greg Waldstreicher entered Entrepreneur Magazine’s College Entrepreneur of 2010 contest at the suggestion of a University of Maryland alum, he didn’t tell his family or friends. Other than his business partner Gideon Platt, a senior at NYU, he didn’t share his decision to enter with anyone, because the chances of becoming a finalist seemed slim.
But early this summer, 20-year-old Waldstreicher found out he was selected out of 1,000 entries as a Top 10 Finalist. He was asked to create a video about his entrepreneurial idea, and from there was selected as a Top Five Finalist. Now, it is up to a public vote to decide which of those five entrepreneurs should be the College Entrepreneur of 2010.

In addition to being a Smith School student, Waldstreicher is also part of the Hinman CEOs program at the university. Hinman CEOs is a living-learning program designed to place entrepreneurially-minded students from all disciplines into a single community. With their guidance and funding, Waldstreicher was able to create his company, DoseSpot, and his pitch to Entrepreneur Magazine a reality.

DoseSpot, which was founded in 2009, is an e-prescription system that allows medical doctors to connect directly with a patient’s pharmacy. Waldstreicher said he credits his father, who is a medical doctor, as the inspiration behind DoseSpot. His father knew about the kinks in the e-prescribing system and shared the complaints with his son.

“With health care reform, a big push is to create electronic medical records,” Waldstreicher said. “Included in the health care package is $44,000 per doctor to adopt these electronic medical records. So, the government is basically saying, ‘We’ll pay for you to do this because that is how important it is to us.’”

An element of electronic records, in addition to keeping track of patient visits, labs and X-rays, is prescriptions, Waldstreicher explained. Doctors write billions of prescriptions each year. To fill a prescription under the old system, doctors would call the pharmacy and leave a message, fax in a paper prescription or just give the prescription to the patient.

“The patient has to drive over to the pharmacy, drive home, do errands, come back. Their prescription may be ready, it may not be,” Waldstreicher said about the inefficient system. “And there were also the factors of illegible handwriting and human error contributing to the inefficient system. We decided there had to be a way to make writing prescriptions more efficient. The handwriting wasn’t working, the faxing wasn’t working. The calls to the pharmacy weren’t working.”

According to Waldstreicher, a significant amount of a physician’s staff’s time is spent dealing with pharmacies: “The pharmacy will call the doctor because they can’t read what he wrote. Then the staff has to find the doctor and the doctor has to call the pharmacy all over again. It is just so much wasted time and cost and effort and energy. So we said, ‘We have to be able to do something here.’”

Waldstreicher and Platt see DoseSpot as the solution to those problems. With DoseSpot, doctors can log in at their own computers and pick from an integrated drug system database which prescription needs to go to which patient.

“It’s not freehand typing,” Waldstreicher explained. “For example, if they are looking for Nexium®, they type in ‘N’-‘E’-‘X’ and all of the variations of medicine starting with those letters will come up. As soon as the doctor selects Nexium®, the available dosage will appear.”
That is important because another common problem with the old system along with illegible handwriting is accidental errors in the dosage prescribed. So, a busy doctor might prescribe 125 mg of a drug when the drug only comes in 100 mg or 150 mg pills. With DoseSpot, only the existing and available dosages available for selection, so there is less room for human error, Waldstreicher said.

He also explained that DoseSpot is very quick and easy for busy doctors to use, using the motto of “Click, click, prescribe,” to explain to potential clients the ease at which the application can be used.

“’Click’ meaning finding the drug and clicking on it. The second ‘click’ is finding the dosage and clicking on it. And ‘prescribe’ is just type in directions you want, and then it is done,” Waldstreicher said. “It’s just that easy. Our company really strives for great customer service and great flexibility.”

The idea of electronic prescriptions is not new; DoseSpot is just a new and smoother process for e-prescribing. For medical software companies that already have doctors using their practice management systems or their electronic medical records systems, but whose systems don’t have the e-prescribing component to them, DoseSpot is able to be integrated into their existing system. Then, their doctors can use the e-prescribing without even knowing it’s coming from DoseSpot.

And DoseSpot is certified by Surescripts, the nation’s largest network for electronic prescriptions. Surescripts has created the whole infrastructure for sending e-prescriptions back and forth. The certification is expensive, time consuming and the waitlist can be months, if not years, long, Waldstreicher said.

“Having a Surescripts certification gives DoseSpot a large advantage over companies still waiting to be certified. That is our pitch to our medical software companies,” he said. “You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We’ve already done it and we’ve already been certified for doing it. Let’s just hook our application into yours and you save all the time on the waitlist and a lot of cost, rather than developing it yourself.”

Waldstreicher said that he is really enjoying running DoseSpot and that as a Smith School student as well as a Hinman CEOs, he is receiving great support from people at the University of Maryland, College Park: “This has been really cool and unbelievable. Between Hinman CEOs, Mtech and the Smith School, and everyone else who has gotten behind me, family and friends, it’s been so much fun.”

Waldstreicher has already won the UM Business Plan Competition for undergraduates and hopes DoseSpot will lead him to another victory in the College Entrepreneur of 2010 contest.
Vote for Greg Waldstreicher and his company, DoseSpot. Voting for the College Entrepreneur of 2010 contest ends on September 10.

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