Working as a cardiac nurse and educator for 22 years, Gary Krause saw a need for a tool that enabled medical personnel to rapidly and accurately identify EKG rhythm strips. To fill the need, Krause developed the R-CAT (Rapid Cardiac Analysis Tools) products, selected as one of the 50 hottest products at the 2012 Journal of Emergency Medicine Conference and Expo in Baltimore, Maryland. His products for identifying heart attacks were also named among the top products in 2011 by EMS PRO Magazine.
Krause launched EKG Concepts LLC in 2010 to sell the first of his R-CAT products, an 8 ½ by 11 inch, 4-page, double-sided laminated reference and training tool that displays diagrams of 41 different EKG rhythm strips along with additional heart diagrams and information on reading an EKG. Requests for additional tools prompted Krause to expand his product line to include a pocket version, poster and other variations of the original R-CAT.
“I also designed the R-CAT Window for STEMI [STEMI is a medical term for heart attack] which is a plastic card with unique measuring tools and a reversible baseline window that you can actually lay over someone’s 12 Lead EKG to identify signs and symptoms of a heart attack,” says Krause.
EKG Concepts now has six products and is in the process of developing others.
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To patent his creations, Krause contacted a lawyer, who encouraged him to seek business counseling from the UW-Parkside Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The SBDC helped Krause complete his business plan, set financial and marketing goals, and increase his profitability by more than 30 percent.
“They’ve helped me with my business plan and with counseling, talking about different aspects,” says Krause. “Probably the biggest thing was working with different companies and distributors. The SBDC helped me make connections and provided guidance."
Based in Racine, EKG Concepts currently has two distributors and sells its products to colleges, universities, book stores, hospitals, and the military in the U.S. and in nine other countries. The company employs two people and plans to add employees in 2013.
Krause is pleased with the success of his business and with the life-saving potential of his products. “The R-CAT products were developed to save lives when every second counts,” he notes. “Medical personnel can initiate proper treatment, save valuable time, reduce critical errors and improve patient outcomes using these tools to assist in rapid rhythm interpretation or early detection of a heart attack.”
Krause cites statistics from the Circulation Journal, published by American Heart Association, ”One in eight patients that present to the Emergency room are misdiagnosed by their EKG when presenting with a heart attack. We can teach EKGs and students can take a test and pass it, but they may not see some of these rhythms for weeks, months and even years. So these tools are excellent education and reference tools for people to look and compare actual patient EKGs, so they are not misdiagnosed.”
For more information on this successful Wisconsin innovator, check out www.ekgconcepts.com.