Sanford Health startup program takes off from new companies – SiouxFalls
November 10, 2021
This paid piece is sponsored by Sanford Health.
Doctors and nurses at Sanford Health have created three companies through the healthcare system’s new startup program, with several more new businesses in the pipeline.
When a nurse, provider, researcher, or other employee has an idea that solves an internal problem or improves patient care, they work with Sanford Innovation Team. Katie Paulson, senior director of innovation and marketing, said that instead of licensing the invention to an outside company, the program helps the employee own their own company outside of Sanford Health, but keeps those jobs and revenue within the region.
“The startup program provides a unique opportunity to allow our employees to participate in the innovation roadmap and learn how to transform an idea to improve care for our patients. It is also a great way to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in our local community.”
700,000 potential users
The newest spin-off comes from sisters Amanda Rolag and Angel Rolag, both mobile nurses from Sanford Health in Sioux Falls. They came up with a sternum pad that protects patients who have undergone surgery that requires a sternotomy, an incision made through the sternum.
More than 700,000 people undergo open heart surgery each year in the United States. To prevent postoperative complications and aid recovery, patients are encouraged to walk and be active several times a day. This helps improve oxygenation and reduces the risk of blood clots and pneumonia. They experience shortness of breath and cough while recovering, and are encouraged to use a walker to prevent falls from weakening. The sternal precautions provided also advise patients not to reach and raise their arms.
A pillow or blanket is placed for patients to attach to the chest to soothe the wound and protect it from the pain and pressure of coughing, sneezing or laughing. But this current process requires the use of hands and increases the risk of tripping or falling, limits a person’s movement, requires constant carrying or lifting and does not adequately protect the chest.
Rollags’ invention is called Sternum Protect, and they got the idea after their father, Dale Rollag, underwent open-heart surgery.
“He had a hard time not using his arms when he was awake. He grabbed things when he wasn’t supposed to. He wasn’t too keen on the sternum, and he was laughing, and that would be too painful for him. We just saw him struggle and we knew that There is something better that could help him.”
Dale Rolag, who had an entrepreneurial mind, was killed in a 2020 car crash in Sioux Falls.
“Our dad was really the inspiration for the Sternum Protect,” Angel Rollag said. “We all brainstormed with him to come up with a temporary solution at home to create a cushion and improve recovery.”
Rollags kept improving the idea and came up with a final product that covers the slit and is held in place by straps.
The two inventor sisters worked with Braden Bills, a member of the Sanford Innovations team. Help with the initial business plan and connect them with many experienced startup resources. With that, they tied for third place and won $4,000 in April In the competition of the giant ruler in the field of business.
The sternum pad technology has since been licensed to Rollags, D3D, and they are currently finalizing a manufacturing plan and registering it with the Food and Drug Administration. The goal is to start selling it by 2022.
“The whole process was very exciting,” Angel Rolag said. “Just being able to see your idea come to life and knowing that every change you make will also help improve the recovery of others, which is the point of this. We hope that our Father’s memory will continue to benefit others.”
The first subsidiary of Sanford Health was created by surgeons from Fargo.
Dr. Thomas Haldis, Interventional Cardiologist, Medical Director of the Heart Laboratory, and Neurosurgeon Doctor. alexander drova invented a device called Slide guide catheter It could simplify stroke treatments. Their company, Flotronic Solutions LLC, has a working prototype that will be refined as it seeks approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
Fargo trauma surgeon Dr. Stephen Briggs started the third company, Blue Sky, under Sanford Health’s startup program. Phase three Rib fixing devices It can allow the surgeon to repair broken ribs by making a small incision, drilling through the soft bone marrow, and inserting a wire or condyle to stabilize the broken rib.
Many other Sanford Health employees are in the process of starting their own companies.
“The Innovations division offers such a huge resource for patient improvement,” said Angel Rollag. “We are on the front lines seeing problems, so employees have a huge advantage in terms of having this startup program. And if we see something that could use improvement, this is the perfect way to do it.”