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Medecipher Awarded Competitive Grant from the National Science Foundation

NSF Small Business Innovation Research Program Provides Seed Funding for R&D

Denver, CO, 7/15/19 – Medecipher has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $225,000 to conduct research and development (R&D) work on optimizing staffing decisions in emergency departments.

This work is important because staffing and systems problems impact not only the patients themselves, but also the staff who care for them and the financial performance of the health system. Research shows that if a nurse is caring for too many patients, her patients are being unnecessarily put in harm’s way. Her patients are at a higher risk for patient safety events such as falls, complications such as infections, and even mortality. Nurses across the country say they not only feel overworked, but deeply worried that they can't adequately care for the number of patients they’re responsible for in each shift. If not addressed, these deep underlying concerns lead to burnout, which costs hospitals over $9 Billion annually, the most significant cost driver being turnover. Adding to this pressure, direct patient care staffing costs consume nearly 50% of an average hospital's operating revenues. Reducing nurse staffing frequently becomes a target for hospital CFOs facing financial uncertainty looking to reduce costs and increase profitability.

“Medecipher is building an integrated, real-time decision support tool that uses a unique blend of data sciences and operations research technologies to forecast emergency department workload and provide recommendations to balance that workload with optimal staffing,” says CEO Stephanie Gravenor. “Medecipher is founded by former managers of an academic emergency department, hospital throughput directors, and industrial engineers. Our understanding of patient flow, throughput, and the operational reality of a hospital make us uniquely qualified to solve nurse staff staffing problems and enables us to adapt a technical engineering solution to such a dynamic (and often chaotic) clinical setting as the emergency department.”

“NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of science and engineering,” said Andrea Belz, Division Director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “With the support of our research funds, any deep technology startup or small business can guide basic science into meaningful solutions that address tremendous needs.”

Once a small business is awarded a Phase I SBIR/STTR grant (up to $225,000), it becomes eligible to apply for a Phase II grant (up to $750,000). Small businesses with Phase II grants are eligible to receive up to $500,000 in additional matching funds with qualifying third-party investment or sales.

NSF accepts Phase I proposals from small businesses twice annually in June and December. Small businesses with innovative science and technology solutions, and commercial potential are encouraged to apply. All proposals submitted to the NSF SBIR/STTR program, also known as America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF, undergo a rigorous merit-based review process.

To learn more about America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF, visit:

About the National Science Foundation's Small Business Programs: America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $1.5 million in non-dilutive funds to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $8.1 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.