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"What makes us unique is that we’re the medical professionals creating and designing our own medical apps.” – Adam Bitterman (D.O. ’10)
Fusing technology and medicine is a natural culmination of interests for Adam Bitterman (D.O. ’10), who launched a mobile medical applications venture as a second-year medical student. JAMB Innovations, which he started with former roommate-turned-COO and chief developer Jeffrey Midgley, RPA-C, is in its second year. Already, its apps have been downloaded more than 50,000 times.
The company was a natural fit for another NYIT alumnus, Sal Docimo (D.O. ’09), who joined the company in 2009 as head of marketing. For Docimo, who holds an undergraduate marketing degree, JAMB meshes his desire to help others with his interests in technology and business. “To bring it all together and mold traditional, textbook knowledge with the technology we’ve been exposed to in this era is very exciting and rewarding,” he says. “To treat and save someone’s life with something youhelped develop is incredible as well.”
The idea of merging technology and medicine bloomed when Bitterman complained to Midgley about the need to quickly access medical formulas and factoids, then available only on PDAs or in paper reference materials. Their bulk, weight, and questionable accuracy made the pair think there had to be a better way. The rest, as they say, is history. Within days, Midgley devoured hundreds of pages of iPhone software development manuals and coding to make their idea of developing mobile medical applications a reality. Midgley took on the role of developer and COO, Bitterman became CEO and editor. Then Docimo was added to marketing, and two other employees later joined the business. One application, uBurn, which calculates the percentage of a body burned and provides important information on thermal burns, was the first to be released over the Apple iTunes App Store. The free “lite” version was downloaded more than 10,000 times in six weeks, and based on that success, the team continued to develop a broader suite of products.
Soon to follow was i911, an emergency dialer; uPregnant, which offers prenatal information; uFebrile, a resource for feverlowering medications for children; uRabies, a rabies dosing and scheduling guide; and uSober, a blood alcohol content calculator. All medical reference apps are available for use on Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, and all are designed to make medical clinical practice more efficient, and ultimately improve patient outcomes and satisfaction.
The Manhattan-based JAMB now offers 10 applications ranging from $1.99 to free. Each has taken from six weeks to six months to develop, and all have been developed in house at minimal cost (always good news for a start-up). Though designed for medical professionals, Bitterman says the apps can be used by anyone and encourages those in the learning stages of their career to try them.
“What makes us unique,” he says, “is that we’re medical professionals creating and designing our own medical apps. We are the doctors, and we are putting in the time to create apps that our own colleagues are going to use.”
“We understand the challenges facing the medical community,” says Docimo, “and we are in a unique position to create these products, which not only provide data but allow users to interact with it.” The challenge in producing these apps, besides limited funds, is time. Bitterman is an orthopaedic surgery resident at Peninsula Hospital Orthopedic Consortium on Long Island; Docimo is a second-year surgical resident at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Midgley is a practicing physician assistant.
“It’s difficult to balance, but I have a great support system and lots of people helping,” says Bitterman. “But you’re still staying up late and answering e-mails when you have a free moment to make sure you’re not missing a deadline or meeting. It’s tough, but it’s been going well so far.”
JAMB has scores of products in development, he says, but “because of time and financial constraints, we’ve only been able to put out a small percentage of everything we want. With time, financial growth, and help from others, we’re hoping to expand significantly.”
The company is in the process of working with a third party to launch a website that will help it develop more sophisticated applications. “We’re always looking for ideas, and we’re in the process of transitioning to bigger and better things, so it’s very exciting,” Bitterman says.
Part of the excitement stems from other doctors taking an interest in his company’s applications. After uBurn was released, he saw a colleague using the app. When Bitterman explained that he had helped develop uBurn, he says his friend “was shocked ... and I was shocked to see someone I knew actually using my application.” Networking with others is just one lesson he’s learned since creating JAMB. He has also familiarized himself with the iPhone’s iOS programming language and learned how to run a business—all the while enjoying the experience.
“It’s absolutely fun,” says Docimo. “It’s exciting to see an idea come to life. And it all stems from the question: How do I better treat my patients?”