Struggling to find a way to market for her hospital-infection fighting invention, Durham entrepreneur Ginny Porowski looked for help. Her search led to Groundwork Labs in Durham and then to Edison Nation Medical in Charlotte. Now her “GoGowns” have a distribution deal. Is financial success next? 

In the third part of WRALTechWire’s examination of the GoGowns march to its possible breakthrough deal, we explore the Edison Nation Medical side of the story.

In the opinion of John Austin, who runs Groundwork Labs, success beckons for Porowski and Lisa Bourget, her business partner. 

“They are now off and running,” says Austin, who interested Porowski to the Edison Nation Medical team.

Formed in 2012 in partnership with Carolinas HealthCare System, Edison Nation Medical aims to help inventors and entrepreneurs bring new medical technology to market. 

Here’s how its process works:

“Membership to Edison Nation Medical is free and ideas submitted to our confidential and secure online portal are vetted through an in-depth multi-step review process led by our highly skilled medical, product development and legal experts. The end goal is to license each qualified product idea that is submitted to a medical manufacturer and, when we are successful, we share the royalty profits with the inventor 50/50.”

Based on Austin’s recommendation, Porowski reached out to the Charlotte group – and a deal soon was struck.

WRALTechWire talked with Edison Nation Medical’s Blake Marler about Porowski and GoGowns.

  • What impressed you about Ginny and her idea?

We were impressed by Ginny’s idea as we felt it was truly innovative and filled an important medical need — helping to decrease hospital-acquired infections and increase efficiencies within the hospital setting. Ginny’s nursing experience helped her identify the growing trend of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs).

Her prototype helped address the issue of HAIs related to improperly removed/discarded gowns and gloves. Our partners in Carolinas HealthCare System and research further confirmed her initial hypothesis.

  • What business and health needs does the gown/material meet?

The GoGown is designed to minimize the risk of exposure to contaminants present on improperly discarded isolation gowns and gloves. The wearer places the gown’s interior wrapper around his/her rolled up gown and gloves, creating a small bundle that is then sealed with an affixed adhesive tab. This method means that only the clean interior wrapper is exposed, protecting people from exposure to invisible contaminants such as MRSA and C-diff.

The GoGown’s size, shape and weight also mean that more gowns fit into hospital trash receptacles, which decreases the amount of trash pulls that environmental services has to complete daily. This increases overall efficiency and improves the cleanliness and appearance of the patient environment.

  • Why did you choose to support the idea?

Edison Nation Medical’s mission is to create more efficient, effective and safer healthcare through innovation by providing an easier way for new medical invention ideas to come to life.

Ginny’s GoGown does all three of these!

  • What kind of support did you provide?

Edison Nation Medical provided the research, medical efficacy review and analysis needed for the GoGown to become commercial ready.

Furthermore, Edison Nation Medical worked with our partner Carolinas HealthCare System to further enhance the GoGown so that it met the quality and standards needed to be medically accepted.

Finally, Edison Nation Medical secured the contract with Medline Industries, so that the GoGown could have the manufacturing, distribution and sales support it needs to become the new standard in care.

  • How did the licensing agreement come about?

Through our extensive connections within the health care community, Edison Nation Medical’s business development team secured the licensing agreement with Medline. Through our relationships with leading medical device companies, we take a targeted approach to identify the most appropriate companies that will ensure the greatest success for our inventors’ products.

Given that Medline Industries is the nation’s largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of hospital isolation gowns, it was the logical manufacturing partner for the GoGown.

  •  Are you looking for investors to further develop it?

We are not looking for investors for this project as it is now part of Medline’s product line and they will develop and market as they would other product offerings.

The GoGown will initially be launched in Carolinas HealthCare System in early 2014 and then expanded to the rest of the healthcare ecosystem.

Note: Part One of the GoGown story and Part Two can be read online.