SHI Blog

Think. Create. Innovate.

Spectrum Health Employee Ideas Go to Competition

Spectrum Health Innovations (SHI) actively supports and encourages student entrepreneurship through working with students on development of projects and supporting them as they prepare for business plan competitions.

SHI is once again actively supporting and sponsoring the CMU New Venture competition. This year two student teams that will be presenting SH employee ideas: the thermal bra and auto-med flusher at the competition.

The Thermal Bra

A cold chest is a common side effect for women who’ve under gone a mastectomy and received breast implants or reconstruction as a result of the procedure.

Jodie Faber, breast cancer survivor and manager for United Lifestyles at Spectrum Health was frustrated that there were no known solutions for combating this problem, so she came to SHI looking for help.

“I wanted something that would be easy to put on and take off. Being a breast cancer survivor, I wanted to feel a sense of normalcy with a bra that was also nice looking” says Jodie. “I didn’t want to do this on my own, so I reached out to the experts at SHI”.

Jodie soon found out that she wasn’t the only one with this particular problem.

A solution to this particular problem could impact a lot of people, not just those who’ve had a mastectomy.


(Jodie Faber and Sue Wroblewski)

With the help of Jodie, fashion design students during the fall semester were able to develop a working prototype. Combining the knowledge of engineering students, they were able to construct a bra with thermal properties. This semester, the fashion students will further refine the bra for a final working prototype.


Auto-Med Flusher

Today’s method of flushing pills down a patient’s feeding tube is very manual and is a lengthy process that can present many challenges including; risk of clogging, and physical damage to equipment.

For CMU engineering student, Allen Warren, designing a product that meets the needs won’t be a walk in the park.

“The biggest challenge is to figure out a way to automatically crush the pills in a very fine manner.  The medication will be pumped into the body through tubes with a very small diameter, so clogging of any sort must be avoided.”

The intensity of the crushing really depends on the user since the method is so labor intensive.

Ideally, the solution will encompass both a way to crush and flush the pills.

At the end of the fall semester engineering students came up with a detailed design of a possible solution. Before the competition, the engineering students plan to have a refined design, but more importantly a prototype.


The Competition

On March 24th, participating students will pitch their business idea to a panel of judges from a wide variety of entrepreneurship and business expertise.

You can show your support to our ideators and student teams by sharing, liking, and commenting on this blog. Former CMU Chips are also encouraged to attend the event as well!


As always, Spectrum Health employees can submit an idea by visiting our website.

written by Felicia Rowley