In Duluth, hardware, software and media converge to save lives around the world. Local Startup Spotlight #19: Geacom

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LSS #19: GeaCom (18 min)

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PhrazerLittle has been heard about an early stage Duluth, Minnesota Company which invented a communications tool with “the power to treat anyone… anywhere.”

Phrazer, a product of Geacom, Inc. is a hand held device which promises to find a patients native language and culture (in 15 seconds or less), discover immediate medical issues, gather vitals and connect to medical history through an EMR system. The application of Phrazer is intended for emergency medical and life-threatening situations, including but not limited to:  the emergency room, urgent care facilities or field use (rapid response/disaster scenarios).

How does it work?


Say for example, you’re on vacation in a foreign country and you need immediate emergency medical attention.  As you meet your prospective doctor or caregiver, you realize that you don’t speak the same language, nor does anyone else in the vicinity. As a solution to this problem, you’re handed Phrazer and prompted by a “virtual” medical professional to identify your language, share intimate personal health details and through an interactive 3D body widget – indicate pain points, describe issue(s) and communicate other critical information rapidly.  On the other end, the doctor or caregiver will hear the relevant information needed to accurately understand your condition and proceed with the appropriate treatment.

Mat Johnson, Founding CEO of GeaCom describes Phrazer as “The only system today that can achieve 100% accuracy when working with a patient from another language and culture, even if there’s a very low literacy rate.  Additionally, we found that we can process same-language patients up to 80% faster than conventional triage. The device levels the playing field.”

Phrazer’s features include:

  • 70+ languages
  • informed consent to treat
  • ability to determine the heirarchy in emergency rooms, etc.
  • internal/external EMR
  • ability to track community health
  • 24 hour hot-swappable battery
  • Noise canceling headset which converts into speakers for group settings.

Depending on desired hardware configuration, language packs and purchase volume, Phrazer’s exact starting price is still TBD.  However, typical emergency rooms have seen ROI in less than six weeks with massive increases in patient throughput, increased accuracy in testing and dramatically lowered liability in terms of potential litigation as studies show (on average) 30 medical errors via interpreter per hour, 60% of which are life threatening.

“So far in our discussions, there isn’t much of a cost issue”, says Mr. Johnson.

Functional prototypes are currently on the market in Sweden, Africa, India and throughout the US as part of an early adopter program. The company is now accepting orders as it gears up to start shipping commercially by the end of this year.  Since inception (2007/2008), the company itself has grown to around 25 employees (core team) and according to Mr. Johnson “Everyone around us are high-energy humanitarians and entrepreneurs.  We source all our manufacturing locally (Minnesota) and fully intend to stay both local and private.”

Phrazer has the makings to be a phenomenal tool with the power to impact lives around the world, all while representing Duluth in the high-tech space.

“I think this is going to become the way that everyone does medicine. And not just with Phrazer, as there are countless methods to leverage IT to solve medical problems…with the inconveneint issue of mixing languages, cultures and literacy levels-this is an issue that will be growing and I think we are going to play a major role in resolving the disastrous outcomes which people are experiencing around the world.” – Mat Johnson, Founder and CEO, Geacom.

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