Connor is a rising senior studying general management at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business (UAB CSOB). He’s also an intern in the UAB Innovation Lab (UAB iLab).

“Internships are amazing–students learn from industry, and companies identify and retain talent early. One day I’d like to start my own company, so for me, the opportunity to learn from a startup was ideal. Last semester I interned with Vincari through a UAB for-credit internship course called ENT 445,” Connor says.

Vincari, at home at Innovation Depot, produces software for surgeons. This software helps surgeons increase the speed and accuracy of post-procedure documentation. Documentation is traditionally an arduous, time-consuming task that can result in thousands of dollars of lost revenue when mistakes are made.

Connor says, “Currently, physicians speak into a dictaphone, or directly to a scribe, which is later transcribed by someone else. It’s easy for mistakes to be made. Vincari seeks to improve this process through their virtual assistant software, Lightspeed Valet. Lightspeed Valet prompts surgeons to answer simple, industry-specific questions following a procedure, and generates a report that is sent immediately to CDI teams for ICD-10 coding. In this way, Lighspeed Valet minimizes errors, reduces overhead costs, and streamlines processes so surgeons can focus on their patients.”

Connor has been learning a lot about how technology can improve healthcare operations, but he doesn’t have a healthcare background – he is a business student.

“I knew absolutely nothing about ICD-10 or surgical coding processes when I started ENT 445. I spent time one-on-one working with and learning from almost everyone at Vincari. I went in expecting to learn a lot – mostly building on general business knowledge learned in the classroom – and I did. I learned what it’s like to work with a team towards big goals–goals much bigger than earning an “A” at the end of a semester. In a startup, you care about the people you work with, and you care about what’s best for the organization. Office relationships are really important. You’re with them for eight hours a day, five days a week, every day of the foreseeable future. I also learned how much time and effort goes into business to business (B2B) sales. It’s much more than just a sales pitch, contract, and a handshake. It can take months for the sale to be finalized. Even after the sale, there’s a long implementation period to help the users (in Vincari’s case, physicians) use the product fluently and independently. Actually, I learned more than I could have imagined possible from the experience,” says Connor.