Madison Loustan, Katie Mazzarelli, Dr. Katherine Connolly, Wendy Gonzalez, & Theresa Wang at the Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame Induction dinner.
The current hospital call bell system has been in place since it was invented in 1979. This simple device allows patients to press a button to call the central nurses' station where their requests are then delegated to their respectively assigned healthcare workers. This system has proven to be inefficient and can fail to provide the necessary care because patient requests can easily be forgotten or delayed, especially during times when hospital acuity and censuses are high, and units are understaffed.
During her freshman year, College of Nursing student Katie Mazzarelli was struck with an innovative plan to improve the call bell system, which started the journey of CareCall. Katie thought critically about the current call bell system and created an idea where patients can directly streamline their specific requests to their assigned healthcare workers through a tablet at their bedside. The patients' requests would be sent to their smartphones where it shows their request and allows the workers to efficiently prepare for every patients' needs. This would reduce the amount of time to respond to the patient requests, improve patient satisfaction, hold the healthcare workers accountable for their tasks, and even lower the unnecessary amount of entering a patient's room and transmission of infectious diseases. With the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) due to workers constantly reentering the rooms without knowing what the patient may need when they put the call bell on.
Katie Mazzarelli and the freshmen nursing leadership team presented CareCall to the Pirates Pitch competition at Seton Hall University in March 2019. Later in the year, Theresa Wang, Wendy Gonzalez and Madison Loustan joined the team to excel in the foundational idea created by Katie and take this project further. Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing Katherine Connolly, D.N.P., RN, APN-C, was able to mentor all four students and participated in the Pirates LaunchPad Summer Accelerator with Susan Scherreik, M.B.A., founding director of the Stillman Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. During this accelerator experience, the group was able to advance their plan to further develop CareCall while learning the intricate steps of entrepreneurship. With the help of these well-grounded plans, the team was able to apply for a provisional patent at the end of 2020.
The next step was then to create a prototype of the application from the patients', nurses', and technicians' point of view. From the end of 2020 to the beginning of 2021, Theresa Wang, and her father, Charlie Wang, coded and produced a prototype of the application that used a real time database. The application was then tested at the Interprofessional Health Sciences Campus in Nutley, New Jersey, proving to be effective in the simulation laboratory. This innovative project was presented in the Petersheim Academic Exposition in the spring of 2021 where many judges were astonished by their progress.
As the team worked to improve their ideas and apply for more competitions, they were able to receive the New Jersey Opportunity Meets Innovation Challenge Grant at Seton Hall University while receiving second place for the New Business Model Competition at NJIT. At the end of 2021, the patent was renewed for CareCall and the team continues to develop the application with a professional developer.
Next up, the team will be participating in the Big East Startup Competition on February 22, plus they will be participating in the Petersheim Academic Exposition again with an emphasis on nursing entrepreneurship.