Endovascular Solutions Wins HCD Final Pitch Competition and Innovation Week Shark Tank Event

Lauren Hooker
April 29, 2022
Endovascualr Solutions

The Human-Centered Design (HCD) Program led by Design Director Joshua Kim, MS, and Chief of Surgical Oncology David Mahvi, M.D., has trained surgical residents and medical students in design thinking, equipping them with the skillsets and tools to become medical innovators.

Through collaboration with the Baker School of Business at the Citadel, the HCD Program, now an integral part of the Harvey and Marcia Schiller Surgical Innovation Center, aims to integrate business development into the innovation workflow at MUSC seamlessly.

The HCD program challenges students and residents to identify unmet medical needs in and around the MUSC community and design novel solutions to satisfy those needs. Since the program’s inception in the fall of 2019, the HCD Program has helped create more than ten student-led start-ups at MUSC. Some are recognized statewide as S.C. Innovates Student Pitch Competition winners over multiple years. This year's judges included: David Mahvi, M.D., Chief of Surgical Oncology; Heather Evans, M.D. MS, Professor of Surgery and Vice Chair of Clinical Research and Applied Informatics; Captain James Bezjian, Ph.D., Director of the Innovation Lab and an assistant professor of Strategy & Entrepreneurship in the Baker School of Business and Dave Slenzak, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Broadtree Partners, LLC.

Student teams participating in the HCD Program also compete in an internal Pitch Event. They pitch to an external advisory board with decades of combined experience in medical entrepreneurship to get critical feedback before launching their ideas after the course. This year’s winning team at the HCD Final Pitch Competition and the MUSC Innovation Week Shark Tank Event was Endovascular Solutions. Team members include Riley McGinnis, 4th-year MUSC medical student; Benjamin Ellison, 2nd-year MUSC medical student; and Reece Blackwood, a Citadel business student. Vascular Surgeon Adam Tanious, M.D. MMsc, who identified the problem for the HCD team, served as their project sponsor.

Winners in HCD final pitch competition

“The problem that we sought to solve was how might we improve the organization of wires, catheters, and sheaths on the back table for endovascular procedures,” said McGinnis. “In any endovascular procedure, there are wires, catheters, and sheaths all over the place. These tools need to be kept organized and identifiable for rapid handoffs to the surgical field. Additionally, outside of the body, any blood on them will begin to clot, requiring the devices to be wiped down by hand with the cleaning solution before being passed on to the field.”

The product makes endovascular devices and tools easily identifiable and accessible to the vascular technicians while accommodating the natural workflow of the operating room, particularly with the technician and surgeon interactions. 

“Our solution helps achieve safe and efficient endovascular care by improving the organization and communication in the OR, reducing the number of wasted tools and the number of incorrect handoffs,” said Ellison. “We’re currently beta-testing the product and filing for a provisional patent while hoping to start a small-scale trial to demonstrate the effectiveness of the device."

This year also saw two teams tie for second place: the Young Roots Academy project, with team members Acacia Williams, MUSC Occupational Therapy student, and Chazton Jordan and Jackson Watson, both Citadel business students.  The team for Compassionately was Amer Toutonji, an MD/PhD candidate at MUSC, and Ethan Philips and Thorin Cardente from the Citadel.

Final pitch runner up  2nd place in HCD competitoin

The success of the HCD program has been noticeable since its inception 

One of the original start-ups created through the HCD Program, Heartbeat Technologies, has taken off and has gained widespread recognition at national conferences and state-wide events for their innovation around improving CPR outcomes. The start-up has completed clinical trials on healthy controls, pilot animal studies, and is being funded through grant awards and private investors.

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