HealthShares, a team of students from the UCF College of Medicine led by PI Dr. David Metcalf from UCF IST, is creating a method for storing personal health information and then making it accessible to patients and their authorized clinicians in a secure and affordable fashion. Typically, this information is stored in closed, proprietary systems that make access, even by physicians and other authorized medical staff, difficult. The technology is based on methodologies used in cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, and from loyalty programs such as frequent flier miles.

HealthShares team is working to provide athletes a performance-portfolio platform to easily promote game achievements

One of the key tenets in the UCF I-Corps program—and a major theme in the Lean LaunchPad methodology of which I-Corps is based—is to encourage teams to engage with potential customers to better understand their product requirements. The goal is to ensure that teams understand the needs of the market and, if necessary, adjust their strategies as early as possible in the product development process.

UCF I-Corps team member HealthShares is a shining example of the benefits of this approach. The team initially believed its market opportunity resided in the healthcare industry. After gaining key market intelligence as part of its participation in the I-Corps program, however, it quickly discovered a more promising market opportunity in the consumer fitness industry targeting athletes.

“We originally believed that our software platform could be used to help patients easily and securely store their personal healthcare-related information,” said UCF student Vikram Dhillon, the team’s Entrepreneurial Lead. “Thanks to our participation in the program, we quickly learned that healthcare’s regulatory environment presented significant resource challenges for our team. At the same time, we discovered a new market for our platform—athletics.”

The team—which also includes UCF Institute for Simulation & Training faculty member and director of the Mixed Emerging Technology Integration Lab David Metcalf, Ph.D., the team’s Principal Investigator, industry Mentor Dan Justin, and UCF graduate and technology entrepreneur Colin Forward—has refocused its strategy toward athletes and athletic leagues/organizations.

The software platform is being re-engineered to provide athletes and athletic leagues an easy and efficient vehicle to highlight individual performances, including game stats, other milestones and achievements and video. Data can be easily and securely uploaded and analyzed by the platform and then made accessible to a wider audience via a dashboard. This can provide significant benefits to athletes involved in the recruiting process. It also provides opportunities for leagues and teams to highlight and promote the achievements of their top performing players.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our team,” said Dhillon. “Thanks to the program, we’ve uncovered an entirely new market and we’re early enough in the process to adjust our strategy and enhance our platform to meet this market’s needs.”