Startup Spotlight: SafePush, a Biomedical Device Business

Our Startup Spotlight series highlights New Orleans-based entrepreneurs going through The Idea Village‘s accelerator program for innovative, high-growth ventures. 

We spoke with Tonia Aiken, a nurse, attorney, and biomedical entrepreneur who founded SafePush along with her team. Read her responses below:

[Silicon Bayou] Describe your company in two sentences or less.

[Aiken] The mission of SafePush is to develop biomedical products with worldwide application in the provision of critical care. Safe Push products will enhance the quality of medical care for critically ill patients. Currently medications are given with a quick bolus or by IV bag for longer infusions.

The SafePush device is a micro hydraulic system designed to fill the gap between a quick bolus and IV bag infusion with an easy to use, inexpensive, disposable device that administers medications in the 1-5 cc/minute range.

How did you come up with the idea behind your company?

As a nurse attorney practicing in the field of medical negligence, I had a case where my client suffered irreversible damage and lost the use of her arm because a medication was given too rapidly by the nurse. My husband, Dr. Jim Aiken, also expressed the need for a device that would increase patient safety and allow the healthcare providers to keep their eyes on the patient and not on their watches when administering High Alert Medications that can cause catastrophic results and irreversible injuries.

Why is your solution the best one for your customers?

  1. SafePush is the best solution for customers because:
  2. SafePush is easy to use –attaches to the tip of a syringe
  3. SafePush stores easily in medicine bins/medication dispensing machines
  4. SafePush is inexpensive compared to current available options/competitors
  5. SafePush is disposable
  6. SafePush is color coded for safety
  7. SafePush prevents human error – increases patient safety
  8. SafePush decreases medical and litigation costs
  9. SafePush lowers the number of required staff for injections of High Alert Medications

And why are you the team to make this happen?

SafePush was founded and is managed by knowledgeable, experienced members of the healthcare profession. The management team brings to SafePush, LLC skills such as legal defense in medical malpractice issues, emergency medicine/critical care experience, product development and financial and public relations experience.

Why do you think New Orleans was the best place for you to found this company in?

New Orleans was the best place to found this company because it is a biomedical corridor and is home. We wanted to base our company in a city that is a rapidly thriving hub of bioscience research and medical care, a home to a flourishing Bio Medical District in downtown New Orleans and is a region for vigorous health service providers and employers.

Tell me about a current goal you are working towards with your company?

One goal that we are working on is to finalize the production and manufacturing of the device so that we can start the FDA process and clinical trials.

What’s a challenge you are currently facing as a company?

A challenge we are currently facing as a company is to find the most qualified members for our Advisory Board. We are seeking advisors that have national and international contacts in the healthcare arena and in the world of healthcare product distribution. We will also be looking for investors in the fall of 2020.

What has been your proudest moment so far as one of the founders of this company?

One of the proudest moments is to see that this product is finally a reality after all these years. It fills my heart as a nurse to know that this device will save lives and limbs and impact the care of so many.

What’s a fact about yourself that people would be surprised to hear?

A fact about me is that I love Mardi Gras! My husband, Jim, and I were King and Queen of Krewe du Vieux in 2015 and my sister, Tina, my son, Brett, and daughters, Alexes and Candy, and I (total of 60 members) all march in a social club I founded with Vivian Cahn, The French Quarter Madams, on the Friday before Mardi Gras.