Extraordinary Entrepreneurship

Rosenberg (center) with Chancellor Randy Woodson and Tom Miller during a recent campus event.

A junior in NC State University’s Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Michael Rosenberg has ranked at the top of his class, the department and the College of Engineering every semester since he enrolled.

This is an impressive performance, but Rosenberg isn’t just an academic star. He’s also an entrepreneur who, with other NC State students, founded a company as a freshman to make patient data more accessible, taking on a health care challenge that significantly impacts both costs and patient care.

Today, that company — Medicom — is used by more than 1,000 health care organizations, according to Rosenberg. Medicom’s growing list of clients includes the Department of Veterans Affairs and McKesson, the nation’s largest supplier of medical tools, pharmaceuticals and health care technology.

“The education and resources at NC State make it possible to take on big challenges like these, and the Entrepreneurship Initiative provided context to bring together students from the colleges of Engineering, Design, Management and Humanities and Social Sciences to create Medicom,” Rosenberg said. “Many of those individuals are still employees of the corporation.”

Medicom uses technology that historically facilitated illegal peer-to-peer file sharing to more efficiently share radiology imaging data such as PET scans, mammograms, X-rays and MRIs between health care providers, patients, payers and academics. This can eliminate the need for repeat imaging if a patient is referred to a specialist, for example.

“We’ve repurposed it for good,” Rosenberg said of the technology. “As a result, Medicom’s disruptive architecture costs one-twentieth the price of existing solutions and is quicker to implement and easier to use.”

Rosenberg said Medicom recently became a preferred vendor for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, which falls under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Moving forward, he hopes Medicom can have a more profound impact on health care.

“We have access to all of this medical imaging; we’d like to build artificial intelligence to analyze this imaging, make recommendations to radiologists and make data available to researchers who study diseases,” he said.

Rosenberg said NC State is home to strong advocates for entrepreneurship who encourage students like him to “think outside of the box.” These mentors include Tom Miller, the McPherson Family Distinguished Professor of Engineering Entrepreneurship, senior vice provost for academic outreach and entrepreneurship, and executive director of NC State Entrepreneurship Initiative; and Lewis Sheats, executive director of the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic and associate professor in entrepreneurship at the Poole College of Management.

“Michael and his team have impressed us with their foresight and drive. They are an exemplary model of a cross-discipline team that recognized an opportunity and took action,” Sheats said. “They live our think and do mantra.”

Rosenberg praised the infrastructure for innovation and entrepreneurship at the university.

“We are so lucky to have resources like the Andrews Accelerator that have helped us hone our business knowledge and skills. The Entrepreneurship Initiative motivates students to take on complex multidisciplinary challenges, and I am grateful for NC State alumni who show up to open doors and offer generous financial support every step of the way.”

Rosenberg, an Arizona native who earned the Kenneth D. and Wanda B. Franklin ISE Merit Scholarship, said he was drawn to NC State because of the university’s “extraordinary support structure for entrepreneurship” and faculty members who actively engage undergraduate students in research.

“You don’t even have to ask. You just show up and they do that. That’s the sweetest thing about being an undergraduate here,” he said.