From The CEO
Medicine was a second career for me. I was originally trained as an engineer. I worked at IBM for a time before starting my own technology company, Berbee Information Networks Corporation. After selling Berbee to CDW in 2006, I went to medical school and then completed a residency in emergency medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
There were many challenges for me in medicine. Besides starting medical school at the advanced age of 42, one of the most frustrating was the pediatric ear exam. I could never see what I was supposed to see in a wiggling, crying 6 month-old. Multiple times, it was impossible to be certain if the child had an ear infection, and my attending agreed that it was appropriate to start antibiotics. Most clinical environments use ear exam technology that was developed hundreds of years ago. Recent attempts by others to improve on classic otoscopy missed the required clinical features;
1. Must be small enough to enter pediatric ears and get by the ear wax that is inevitably present.
2. Must produce an image good enough for diagnosis.
3. Must easily integrate into the existing clinical environment.
4. Must be clean between patients.
5. Must tolerate being dropped and generally abused.
6. Must be able to share images with parents, learners and colleagues.
There had to be a better way than traditional analog otoscopy. I assumed a few months of work and we would have a solution. It took 5 years to develop the Wispr® Digital Otoscope by WiscMed®.
The WiscMed team is comprised of clinicians, engineers, regulatory specialists and business executives that care about one thing – supplying you with a device that you can reliably count on to give the best possible view of the eardrum. We hope when you use the Wispr Digital Otoscope you smile at how straight-forward an ear exam can be.
A bit about our company name. WiscMed is shorthand for Wisconsin Medicine. I was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin and benefited from the public education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Portions of our technology are licensed from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). You may be familiar with the medication Warfarin, also brought to you by WARF. Some of the proceeds from every device and speculum sold go back to supporting research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
We are committed to providing a device for your clinical practice that is useful, robust and well supported.
James G. Berbee, MS, MBA, MD
Azita G. Hamedani, MD, MPH, MBA, FACEP
Dr. Hamedani is a graduate of Yale College (Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry) and Yale University School of Medicine. She trained in emergency medicine at the Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency Program (Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham & Women’s Hospital). She also received her Masters in Public Health, with a focus on Health Care Administration & Policy, from the Yale University School of Public Health. More recently, she received her Masters in Business Administration through Kellogg School of Management Executive MBA program.
Dr. Hamedani returned to her home state of Wisconsin in 2006 to join the faculty at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health. She took on the role of Director of Quality for the Emergency Department before being named Chief of the Division of Emergency Medicine in 2009. Under Dr. Hamedani’s leadership the Division of Emergency Medicine launched multiple successful clinical, educational, and academic programs, culminating in the founding of the Department of Emergency Medicine in 2014. Dr. Hamedani has served as the founding Chair of the department since then.
Dr. Hamedani has won numerous awards throughout her career, including Outstanding ED Medical Director of the Year Award, Service to Profession Award, and most recently, the Wisconsin American College of Emergency Physician’s Distinguished Service Award.
Dr. Hamedan’s interest in WiscMed is rooted in a broader interest in disruptive innovation in health care as a means to improve patient care and decrease health care costs.
Gregory S. Rebella, MS, MD
Dr. Greg Rebella received his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health and completed a Pediatrics residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. He returned to Wisconsin for fellowship training in Pediatric Emergency Medicine (PEM) and joined the UW Department of Emergency Medicine in 2008 as one of the founding members of the Pediatric Emergency Medicine program and its director of pediatric education.
Dr. Rebella is a frequent lecturer on a wide range of pediatric conditions as well as being active in medical simulation and procedure training. An inventor at heart, he developed an award-winning abscess model as well as simulated skin used for teaching students and residents. A published author in teaching otoscopy skills to medical residents, Dr. Rebella was approached by Dr. Berbee with a challenge to assist him in developing a device that would overcome the common problems encountered when evaluating young patients with ear complaints.
Branched out as an entrepreneur when he and his family invented Buddy Balls, an award-winning toy that has been featured in numerous print and television spots and is sold in stores across the globe as well as making their way into the hands of thousands of sick and injured children cared for at the University of WI Children’s Hospital.
James G. Berbee, MS, MBA, MD
Dr. Berbee is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison (Mechanical Engineering, Finance and Investment Banking). He worked as a systems engineer at IBM for four years before starting his IT company, Berbee Information Networks Corporation. Over the next 13 years, the company grew to 800 staff and more than $300 million in revenue. After selling Berbee to the public company CDW, he attended Stanford University where he obtained his medical degree. He completed an emergency medicine residency at the University of Wisconsin (UW) Hospital and Clinics. He currently works as a board-certified emergency physician in Wisconsin. His interest in otoscopy occurred because of frustration with the current technology available for the pediatric ear exam.
Dr. Berbee has been awarded the University of Wisconsin College of Engineering Distinguished Achievement Award, the Wisconsin Entrepreneurial Achievement Award, the Ken Hendricks “Seize the Day” Award and the University of Wisconsin Distinguished Alumni Award. He and his wife, Karen Walsh, are active in their home state of Wisconsin. Their private foundation, The BerbeeWalsh Foundation, supports human health and wellness, healthy lifestyles and animal welfare.