Venture Plan Champion Thriving, Gives Peace of Mind, One Hospital Update at a Time
EASE Applications, headed by CEO Patrick de la Roza ’08MBA, provides families in waiting rooms with live updates during surgery.
It all started out in 2014 with two compassionate doctors wanting to help a family feel better.
“Two of my partners are pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists, and they started texting a nervous family during surgery,” said Patrick de la Roza ’08MBA.
After receiving heaping amounts of praise from the family for keeping them in the loop, and knowing about Patrick’s business acumen from the Crummer Graduate School of Business, his eventual partners came to him with an idea.
“They said we need to turn this into something more than just using our personal phones,” said de la Roza.
That’s when something clicked.
“From there the idea of EASE (Electronic Access to Surgical Events) was born,” said de la Roza.
Hospitals purchase EASE through a subscription fee, and the HIPPA-compliant app gives families updates throughout the hospital experience directly to their smartphones.
Now in 41 hospitals and in final negotiations with at least 10 more, the Snapchat-like application is giving families much-needed peace of mind during an extremely stressful time.
“It’s just really exciting how four or five years ago when you did this, when you told people you could receive updates during your surgery, people would say you are crazy. Now it’s not so crazy anymore,” said de la Roza.
The Johnsons are just one of the many families touched by EASE Applications.
“When you have a baby, you don’t expect that it’s not going to go perfectly. You expect to have your baby right by your side at all times,” said Sara Johnson.
Johnson and her son, Benjamin, needed more time in the NICU to develop his lungs after she gave birth.
“They told us about the EASE app when we got to the NICU,” said Johnson. “It was life-changing.”
While Benjamin spent 11 days in the NICU, Sara and her husband would receive photo updates throughout the night that gave them peace of mind while their newborn was getting ready to come home.
“I think what I would have done if there wasn’t something like this; I would have made the effort to try and stay the night, which would have been really hard on me,” said Johnson.
With two other children at home, Sara was able to visit Benjamin during the day and come home at night, knowing she would receive little updates every couple of hours until her next visit.
“It was always a very heartful message with different emojis and it always felt like I was talking to friend,” said Johnson. “I can’t tell you how thankful I am.”
Benjamin is now back home, and the Johnson family couldn’t be happier with how their experience with EASE went.
“He’s doing amazing now. We are very happy it worked out that way,” said Johnson.
EASE Applications wouldn’t have been possible without Patrick’s connections with the Crummer Graduate School of Business.
“It was actually the Crummer Venture Pitch Competition at Rollins College that was our defining moment,” said De La Roza.
In 2014, when EASE was in its infancy, Patrick approached his wife with the idea of joining the competition, which divvies out over $50,000 in grant money to help fund startup companies.
“The Venture Pitch Competition forced us to refine our business plan and refine the concept,” said de la Roza.
“I made [my partners] wear their white coats, which none of them wanted to do,” said de la Roza. “It was a part of the show to have them in their white coats, so they begrudgingly did it.”
The “show” and pitch Patrick spearheaded worked wonderfully, because EASE Applications won the 2014 Venture Pitch Competition and $25,000 in startup money that fueled their early growth.
“We used that money for our first prototype that we used at Orlando Health,” said de la Roza.
Even after the competition, Patrick’s Crummer connections have continued to pay dividends.
“It was great to be able to have access to seasoned professionals that have done it; the whole experience of learning from people who have done it, is key,” said de la Roza. “Crummer has been able to connect me with a lot of other seasoned professionals, and it’s been very helpful.”
Looking towards the future, Patrick wants to continue advancing the technology. It makes it all the better that EASE isn’t just a business for him, but something that has personal value as well.
“I love everything about EASE. I love that it helps people. I love that it helps people in the scariest time of their lives. We’ve all had a loved one have surgery, we’ve all had someone in the ICU, and it’s amazing how a little piece of information can change all of that,” said de la Roza.
That’s why it’s no secret what his long-term goals are.
“We are just so passionate about what EASE does. For us, I want this in every hospital; that’s really our goal,” said de la Roza.