Dec 26, 2013
12:40 PM

Yale MBA Students Win Business Plan Award for ‘App’ on No-Show Patients

Yale MBA Students Win Business Plan Award for ‘App’ on No-Show Patients

Yale School of Management team members (from left) Pravin Chougule, John Kim, Suzanne Lagarde, Adviser Maureen Burke, Amit Garg and Jaffry Mohammed won first place in the Fall 2013 Connecticut Business Plan Competition.

Five students in the MBA program at the Yale University School of Management in New Haven took home the first-place prize in The Entrepreneurship Foundation’s Fall 2013 Connecticut Business Plan Competition with an idea they’re hoping will change the front lines of the health care industry.

NoShowFix, the student team’s electronic predictive modeling tool, could solve the problem of patients not showing up for their scheduled appointments at primary care providers.

The team leader, Suzanne Lagarde, a gastroenterologist at Yale-New Haven Hospital, said no-shows are one of the most significant problems facing healthcare because the trend causes significant economic burdens.

“If we can significantly manage no-shows, it can be huge,” said Lagarde, a resident of Hamden.

Second Prize Goes to University of Bridgeport School of Engineering for a Sign Language App

The team is composed of information technology, finance and medical professionals. They began talking about the idea last spring and putting a business plan together over the summer through a required class in their MBA program.

Their idea is to use the electronic medical records that are standard in doctor’s offices to predict the likelihood that a patient will show up for an appointment.

“Now that we have electronic medical records, we know a lot of things—a lot of variables—and there is a profile of people who are likely going to be no-shows,” said Lagarde.

This tool would allow medical offices overbook appointments in a smarter way by incorporating likely no-shows into that process. All offices overbook, but if it isn’t done with a certain amount of thought it doesn’t help at all, explained Lagarde.

“If two people show up, everyone waits,” she said.

They hope to have a proof of concept (POC) ready by the time team members graduate in May.

From there, the team plans to take a model of NoShowFix to community health centers where they have a research agreement to test it. 

Lagarde said the largest obstacle to success will be money. Once a model has been created, the team is hoping to attract investors.

NoShowFix won first place for best business plan in the competition, which culminated in an event Dec. 6 at Gateway Community College in New Haven. The team took home $500 in cash and will benefit from $2,500 in legal advice from a Fairfield County attorney who will advise them on intellectual property issues.

Twelve student teams from colleges and universities around Connecticut competed in the business plan competition. The Entrepreneurship Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Fairfield, has hosted two competitions a year since 1998.

According to a press release from foundation, each team prepared a business plan for an entrepreneurial venture. At the competition, they defended their plan before a panel of entrepreneurs and investors. The judges questioned the students to test their knowledge of “their product or service, the market, the competition, the capital required to launch the business, legal and tax issues that may impact the plan and other matters.”

Of their first-place win, Lagarde said, “It was great. It was sort of a validation that other people think the idea is a good idea.”


Second prize for best business plan was awarded to the Sign Language App, developed by a student team from the University of Bridgeport School of Engineering. The team is in the process of developing a mobile phone application that translates American Sign Language (ASL) signals into text messages to assist hearing-impaired people in communicating with people who do not understand ASL, the release said. (Above, University of Bridgeport team members Sultan Nour, Mohana Alfaransani, Ying Lou and Adviser Gad Selig.)

“Definitely it means a lot to compete and [get] the second place,” said team leader Mohana Alfarasani, a Bridgeport resident. “Even though we [are] international students and English is our second language, that was one of our team concerns, to present and answer the judgment questions.” Second prize came with $500.

The Best Online Executive Summary award of $500 went to MusicVault, the work of a student team from Quinnipiac University headed by Hamden-resident Nicholas Hakim that involves developing a “cloud-based” music storage system that can accept music downloads from all available online platforms such as iTunes® and Spotify®.

The Best Oral Presentation was awarded to Ryan Piraneo of Central Connecticut State University, a Farmington resident, for his plan to develop a hockey-themed sporting goods retail store in the New Britain area. That also came with $500.

Several awards were also presented by the competition’s sponsors for services ranging from legal assistance to space in a startup incubator. (Right, Central Connecticut State University Faculty Adviser Drew Harris with Ryan Piraneo at the business plan competition.)

Winners included Rubber Beater, a rubber golf club to help golfers vent their anger at bad shots safely, developed by a student team from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Ebb and Flow Landscaping, from a student team from Manchester Community College, which involves proprietary lawn and garden designs consisting mainly of medicinal plants, herbs and organic vegetables, and KolWorks, from a student team from Housatonic Community College that is in the process of developing and patenting a robotic device that can mow lawns and store the grass clippings while in the process of mowing.

The Spring 2014 Connecticut Business Plan Competition will be scheduled for late April 2014. 

Investors and other interested members of the public who wish to participate in future competitions should contact Michael Roer at The Entrepreneurship Foundation by email at


Yale MBA Students Win Business Plan Award for ‘App’ on No-Show Patients

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