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Aaron Soto, a graduate student in UCI’s Master of Human-Computer Interaction (MHCID) program within the Department of Informatics, and his team took second place in the 2017 New Venture Competition held May 12 at UCI’s Paul Merage School of Business. The competition was hosted by the Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in collaboration with UCI Applied Innovation.

The team’s award-winning project was COMPAS, a product that uses computer access times, along with patient-to-room associations, to produce a live view of patient flow. Soto played a fundamental role in the business competition, having joined the team after meeting its founders at a UCI Cove networking mixer, by literally being their “boots on the ground,” attending various workshops and events to curate the necessary knowledge needed to compete, such as creating the pitch deck used for the competition.

“I’m extremely grateful to have come onboard this project and to have worked with some incredible people to make this dream a reality,” said Soto.

COMPAS team members include co-founders Curtis Hendrick and Michael Glover, Dr. Scott Ruskin from the UCI Medical Center, and graduate students Soto and Don Magnuson. The team was advised by UCI Applied Innovation Entrepreneur-in-Residence Stuart Mathews.

The 2017 New Venture Competition awarded teams within seven categories; consumer products, consumer services, business products and services, life sciences, School of Medicine, designing solutions for poverty alleviation, and tech surge. COMPAS was awarded second place and $1,500 of startup capital under the business products and services category.

Going forward, Soto’s role in the company would be that of chief experience officer, utilizing his specialization in human-computer interaction, UX research and design.

“I’m very grateful to be using my Informatics HCI knowledge to help guide product development as we transition COMPAS to the cloud,” said Soto. “I can honestly say that my time in the MHCID program has really helped me learn about user needs analysis and experience evaluation, especially through having empathy for our users.”

Hendrick and Glover hope to take COMPAS to market over the next several months, culminating with a possible presentation at the next Vizient Clinical Connections Summit, an annual industry conference that focuses on improving patient care.

COMPAS is currently implemented at UC Irvine Health, but the team has already strategized to bring the system to UC Davis and UC San Diego as part of a tri-foundational partners agreement.

“This really is an exciting time for COMPAS as we work to bring support to the many fine doctors and nurses who care for us,” said Soto.