Hofstra helps healthcare startups meet their matches

Tech, and balances: Healthcare innovators went one-on-one with industry executives and their future customers Wednesday, when Hofstra University and NuHealth hosted a "Customer Discovery Day." (Photo: Courtney Hanusch, Hofstra University)

Nassau University Medical Center hosted a healthcare summit on Wednesday that put up-and-coming healthcare entrepreneurs in front of two important audiences.

The innovators, all participants in Hofstra University’s federally funded Healthcare Entrepreneurship Community Challenge, met with decision-makers from large-scale health systems and Long Island residents – the people most likely to need their products – in a “Customer Discovery Day” conference designed specifically to inform the entrepreneurs during their early-stage formations.

In helping the innovators better understand real-world specifics likely to affect their products – marketplace dynamics, realistic patient demand and more – Discovery Day provided a “critically important” service for the Community Challenge’s eight participating enterprises, according to Stacey Sikes, Hofstra’s executive dean of entrepreneurship and business development and head of the university’s Center for Entrepreneurship.

“Hofstra University is providing these companies with resources … so they will have a positive impact on healthcare in communities in our region that experience health inequity,” Sikes told Innovate LI. “We believe by facilitating this type of connection to community members, they can have an impact.”

Stacey Sikes: Positive reinforcement.

Participating in Customer Discovery Day were the makers of CatScan App, which helps consumers “see through the box” to pick healthier food options; Woodbury-based Enabling Human Technology Services, a 2019 startup creating voice functionality that gives the physically challenged control of communications devices and household appliances; and Ithaca-based Geri-Safe, which focuses on medication-management systems for at-risk patients.

Also presenting Wednesday were the makers of Friendzema, an under-construction app designed to help families manage the burdens of eczema; New Jersey-based LYT Events, which uses light and sound to create customizable, subscription-based multisensory therapeutic sessions; and New York City-based Open City Labs, which is programming software to auto-fill some 95 percent of digital government forms.

Rounding out the participants: SelfCare for Humans, a startup “self-care” program for high schoolers, and Brooklyn-based YourCoach, an online platform promoting holistic health alternatives.

In partnering with the NUMC, Hofstra deepens its relationship with one of the last Long Island hospitals not part of a large-scale health system (the Island’s last official independent community hospital, Patchogue-based Long Island Community Hospital, is in talks to join Stony Brook Medicine).

The East Meadow-based public teaching hospital shares certain affiliations with Stony Brook University and the Northwell Health system, but is officially governed by NuHealth (formerly the Nassau Health Care Corp.), a 1,200-bed system that also includes the Nassau-owned A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility, the Nassau County Correctional Center infirmary and a number of neighborhood health clinics.