46 million people living in rural America have 70% less access to specialist physicians compared to their urban counterparts, and they often must travel to a regional hospital to access these vital forms of care. Their mortality rate is 184% higher, meaning this is more than a logistical problem; it is life and death for rural patients.
When Dr. Aroonsiri Howell decided to enter Temple University’s Innovative Idea Competition, she knew she had a great idea that could address this serious problem. Her business, Accessum, combines a unique in-patient approach to care with the growing trend of telemedicine to help patients in rural areas receive “the right care, at the right time, in the right place.”
Accessum will work with hospitals’ existing systems and provide needed specialists who will seamlessly integrate into each hospital system’s patient management, electronic health records, and billing workflows. This means expanded access to specialist care on an inpatient basis, even if the patient lives in a remote area with limited ability to travel.
Although Dr. Howell has an excellent team and an innovative approach to a very real problem, she needed funding to launch her first pilot. So, she reached out to the Small Business Development Center at Temple University for support in developing and perfecting her pitch. Accessum worked with business consultants Isabel Krome and Erika Tapp Duran to prepare for the Innovating Idea Competition. With the SBDC’s support, Accessum has also entered several other pitch competitions.
Dr. Howell’s hard work paid off! In November, it was announced that Accessum was awarded the grand prize along with a $1,500 grant. She also won a $1,000 award from the Blackstone Idea Competition and is currently working on other pitch competitions to raise the remaining seed funding for Accessum’s first pilot, which is slated for 2023.