At Stony Brook’s CEWIT, never too old to incubate

Ageless: Stony Brook University's Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology is less concerned with a member company's age than its ability to promote Long Island's tech-based economy.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

A Stony Brook University business-development program known primarily as a haven for startups has opened its doors to a 24-year-old tech innovator.

Islandia-based “medical informatics” firm ZyDoc Corp. has been accepted into SBU’s Incubator Program and will move a research-and-development team this month into the university’s Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology.

Although CEWIT’s own mission statement lists “new enterprise development” as a core function, ZyDoc – launched in 1993 by retina surgeon James Maisel – will fit right in: The eight-year-old Center of Excellence is also dedicated to interdisciplinary IT research and the commercial development of tomorrow’s technologies, and according to SBU officials, ZyDoc’s quest for new healthcare-related “knowledge-management technologies” certainly qualifies.

A university statement announcing ZyDoc’s acceptance into the Incubator Program, in fact, notes the Islandia company – already a well-established provider of cloud-based and mobile-app medical transcription platforms – is “well-aligned with the Stony Brook incubator mission.”

The statement, released Thursday, makes its case by noting program-selection criteria that include technological expertise, adequate financial support, solid management teams and thorough market assessments – as well as “consistency” between the member company’s business plans and the Incubator Program’s mission to support the regional high-tech economy.

Stony Brook University Economic Development Director Ann-Marie Scheidt, who chairs the Incubator Program’s Tenant Selection and Review Committee, said SBU was “delighted” to welcome ZyDoc into CEWIT, where it will “address the formidable challenges of new natural language-processing software and related medical data applications.”

James Maisel: Succeed, pivot, repeat.

“Stony Brook’s research talent and experience in these areas promises exciting and mutually rewarding collaborations,” Scheidt added.

In a way, hanging a shingle in the startup-heavy CEWIT is fitting for a tech company that’s consistently reinvented itself over the past two-and-a-half decades.

ZyDoc has reached considerable heights, pivoted and achieved success more than once, starting in 1993, when it developed one of the first widely accepted Electronic Medical Records software suites, which was eventually sold to the U.S. Department of Defense.

In 1999, the already-soaring startup’s speech-recognition medical-language models were bundled into popular Dragon NaturallySpeaking software suites marketed by Massachusetts-based tech company Nuance Communications Inc.

Then, in 2003, ZyDoc shifted gears, refocusing on web-based transcription services and embarking on a new mission to increase physician efficiency, improve patient outcomes, lower malpractice risks and better manage private-practice revenues. At the heart of this effort is MediSapien, the company’s proprietary, enterprise-class, web-based knowledge-management platform, which incorporates disruptive natural-language processing and artificial-intelligence technologies.

Now, with its business-to-business knowledge-management and data-capture services thriving in the healthcare sector, ZyDoc will look to reset the industry standard again, with its CEWIT-based R&D team leveraging the Incubator Program’s resources and services.

Founder and ZyDoc Chairman Maisel noted a “wonderful opportunity” for his “small but immensely talented and dedicated in-house team of developers, programmers and project managers” to speed up development of new cost-saving, efficiency-improving, cloud-based, AI-driven technologies – while simultaneously expediting his company’s growth.

“ZyDoc has multiple disruptive, enabling technologies in development now,” Maisel said. “Through the Incubator Program, we will gain invaluable support in technology development, as well as help in focusing our commercialization strategies.”