Providing portable simulation models and bite-sized lessons to help emergency physicians sharpen their life-saving procedural skills
Multiple Awards | $119,687
practicing EM physicians in the US
Emergency Medicine physicians are called upon to act quickly to save lives, including remembering how to successfully perform critical procedures in the Emergency Department. Despite this, physicians don’t always have consistent access to procedural practice. SimKit is changing this by providing portable and easy-to-use simulation models that help busy physicians squeeze in consistent practice so they can have confidence in their procedural skills.
Dr. Jason Hine founded SimKit to address a real need that he saw in his experience as an Attending Physician in a Southern Maine Emergency Department. After a difficult case in the emergency department, Dr. Hine developed a way to consistently practice his motor skills and review his notes. From there, SimKit was born – a subscription box consisting of portable models and digital lessons that help physicians practice critical procedures.
Through Dr. Hine’s involvement with the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs’ Top Gun program, he came to learn what MTI offered for new businesses. MTI has funded SimKit at several levels of growth, providing critical funding and guidance to help them achieve their goals. In the first round, MTI funded SimKit’s initial development of prototypes and curriculum. Subsequent rounds of funding – including a MERC (Maine Entrepreneurial Resource Corps) grant – funded the development of their marketing and sales campaign, including their first showing at a large medical conference.
In addition to financial assistance needed to develop, launch and market SimKit, MTI has acted as trusted advisors during the process, providing guidance and consultation. When reviewing materials presented, the team at MTI has helped SimKit recognize unforeseen challenges or weaknesses in their business plan and made recommendations for a path toward improvement or correction.
Just as SimKit was still in the development phase and pre-revenue, the pandemic started, slowing down the process. The cost of cardboard – critical to the boxes needed to ship their simulation models – skyrocketed. As a result, getting all of the materials for each of the 12 initial boxes was challenging. In addition, hospitals were experiencing increased strain and financial hardship. Attention to and paying for clinicians’ education, though vital to the safety and welfare of patients, became a second-tier priority.
With MTI’s support, SimKit was able to adjust to these challenges by identifying the need to build relationships with customers, driving sales through personal interactions and leaning on their advisory team to help them navigate the financial murkiness of the first year of business.
SimKit credits the collaborative entrepreneurial spirit of Maine to their success. “The Maine culture of kindness and neighborly warmth has been invaluable to SimKit. When approaching mechanical engineers, packaging or shipping companies they have recognized and welcomed us where we were at that time as a startup, helped us with their own experiences and expertise, and were so accommodating. I don’t think you would get that in other states,” noted Dr. Hine.
In the future, SimKit wants to expand nationally and globally, supplying accessible and vital procedural education to emergency medicine physicians everywhere.