EAP’s RNvention launching with ‘Nix Tool’

A local startup company hopes to put a time-saving tool in the hands of every nurse in America.

Wayne Nix, of RNVention, an Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program (EAP) portfolio company, has developed the “Nix Tool,” currently in its demonstration phase receiving feedback from nursing departments within University Health.

The device is designed to assist in bedside patient care, combining several tools into one and introducing new ones nurses often find themselves needing.

“This tool is for everything we do around a patient – from opening packages and clamping lines to splitting pills,” Nix, a neonatal nurse, said at a recent demonstration in the University Health Shreveport renal lab.

The demonstration was organized by Biomedical Research Foundation’s Office of Research Development and Administration, which provides support for clinical trials and coordinates opportunities for new medical ventures and research.

Nix said receiving feedback directly from the workforce that will be using the tool is crucial for fine tuning before it is manufactured.

The Nix Tool’s target is the country’s 3.9 million nurses, though techs and orderlies, other health professionals and even the general public have expressed interest in its capabilities.

“I’ve heard everything from fishing to general at-home use,” Nix said. “For nurses, though, we open packages, clamp lines all day, scrape, cut, pry and screw things, puncture boxes and we need to do a majority of this bedside care while not carrying any tools on us.”

The piece of equipment is designed to hang at a patient’s bedside and save nurses valuable time in patient care.

“The real value of this tool is that you don’t have to leave the bedside. If the nurse leaves the room to get hemostats, scissors or forceps, he or she may intend to come right back but chances are they’ll get stopped in the hall or diverted to an emergency,” he said. “Imagine if that nurse could finish the task and do their job uninterrupted – saving millions of nurses five minutes each on round-the-clock shifts. How much time and money could be saved? And more importantly, how much better could our care be?”

Renee Lamb, RN, manager of University Health’s renal unit, said she can see the advantages of having a tool like the Nix Tool available to nursing staff.

“We are always looking for something in order to take something off, tighten something down, cut something off…This would be a game changer,” she said.

Nix’s tool is patent pending and manufacturing is slated to begin in late summer after demonstrations are complete. The final demonstration will be at University Health’s Wound Care Fair in late May.

After each demonstration, the product is further refined based on feedback.

Nix, originally of Lafayette, came to Shreveport to participate in the Louisiana Startup Prize’s competition last year.

He said the synergy that exists in the startup community in northwest Louisiana is the reason he opened the business at BRF’s InterTech Science Park, in close proximity to University Health Shreveport and EAP, which works closely with startups to analyze the viability of their ideas and products, match them with informed investors and nurture them through critical steps toward market.

“Here we have CoHab, the Louisiana Startup Prize, EAP and BRF, a whole list of people who will support and nurture you. These are the kinds of relationships that are forming here,” Nix said.

Nix’s company was in the top five startups in Louisiana Startup Prize’s competition, which kicked off its third year Friday.

“RNvention really impressed the investors participating in the business competition last year. He has a great shot at making an impact with his invention as he moves to the next phase. His story is an example of what can happen when we collaborate to support entrepreneurship and startup success here,” said Gregory Kallenberg, Startup Prize founder.

As an EAP portfolio company, startups such as Nix’s receive services such as financial analysis and modeling, business plan refinement, market analysis and research and assistance with funding.

“Companies like RNVention are finding a unique opportunity here in Northwest Louisiana thanks to the services the Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program provides and the network of support, including the Louisiana Startup Prize, ORDA, Digital Media Institute at InterTech, Cohab, University Health and other organizations working together to help entrepreneurs be successful,” said Dave Smith, EAP executive director. “Our overall mission as an initiative of the Biomedical Research Foundation is to diversify and develop this economy. Entrepreneurs are key to doing that.”

Nix is one of more than 100 local startups working with EAP.

Once Nix manufactures the Nix Tool and develops a customer base, he’ll work with EAP to expand his startup and bring more time- and life-saving devices to the mainstream medical industry.

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