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Auburn School of Nursing faculty member Clare Kranz launches her business idea WELLBLOxS with the help of the New Venture Accelerator program. WELLBLOxS makes patient education easy and fun.
Editor’s note: The Harbert College of Business is committed to developing a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem for students, faculty, industry and alumni that will fuel new venture creation and promote diversity among new entrepreneurs in today’s business world. In recognition of Women Entrepreneurship Week 2021, below is one of four stories showcasing women who are recent Auburn University graduates and have launched their business ideas with help from the New Venture Accelerator program.
“My two main driving goals are: 1) to make life better for kids, and 2) to shift healthcare to the home”
A serious lifestyle change sometimes is necessary to improve one’s health, but Clare Kranz believes it can be turned into a matter of fun and games.
The use of gamification helps keep clients engaged and informed about their health care.
Quite literally, in fact, with her new business venture WELLBLOxS, which incorporates gamification into prescribing better health care.
Kranz is an assistant clinical professor for Auburn University School of Nursing, and thanks to the Harbert College of Business New Venture Accelerator program she can add businesswoman to her many titles.
“WELLBLOxS is a patient education platform,” she said.
It is designed to engage clients with customizable self-care information during hospitalization and following discharge. Kranz feels making that education process more fun also makes it more effective.
“Combining a physical game-board with a software platform allows healthcare providers to guide health instruction, promote lifestyle modifications, and encourage care compliance in partnership with their patients and families,” she said.
The mobile platform will integrate game-based components, such as leveling, points, tracking, alerts, etc. “Ultimately, WELLBLOxS improves patient experience while reducing hospital readmissions, length of stay, and patient costs,” she said.
Clare Kranz, assistant clinical professor for Auburn University School of Nursing
Kranz, from Sylacauga, holds three degrees from the University of Alabama in Birmingham school of nursing: a BSN in 2008; MSN (specialty: Acute and Continuing Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner) in 2011; and DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) in 2018.
“My two main driving goals are: 1) to make life better for kids, and 2) to shift healthcare to the home,” she said.
In addition to her work and teaching in Auburn, she already is putting WELLBLOxS to the test by serving as the evidence-based Practice Quality Improvement Specialist for Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah.
She says she enjoys putting her experience to good use.
“As a pediatric nurse and nurse practitioner, I saw first-hand how gameful learning can promote patient understanding and compliance with healthy behaviors, for parents and kids alike!” she said. “Over time, I realized the concept works with adult patients, too. Adults like to play games just as kids do; and much learning can occur during the fun, gameful moments.
“I started to transform the discharge education process one unit at a time with very simple tweaks, and quickly realized this is a huge gap,” she said. “With an evidence-based basic game-board alone (no software support or web-based information), we saw a reduction in readmissions, patient cost, and hospital length of stay.
“Additionally, patients loved it!”
The reported patient-experience scores improved, nurses reported improvements with patient education, and healthcare providers were capturing more information being discussed as opposed to being handled in printed formats, she said.
“For about two years, my husband encouraged me to do something about the idea of combining the physical gameboard with computer-based support,” she said. “My specialty is evidence-based nursing. I love mapping out the best evidence to support lifestyle modifications and keep you safe and healthy at home. Again, my goals are to make life better for kids and shift healthcare to the home.”
Still, Kranz said her background of nursing and healthcare didn’t make her feel qualified or knowledgeable enough to launch a business venture. That changed, she said, thanks to a program co-sponsored by the Harbert College of Business and the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation.
“The New Venture Accelerator at Auburn University has been a tremendous resource for me and WELLBLOxS. I was accepted into the Summer Accelerator with program director Lou Bifano and the Entrepreneurs in Residence. Lou has been instrumental in working with me to identify where I am and what the next steps are to creating and launching a business,” she said.
“Lou is an absolute treasure and one of the kindest persons I have ever met,” Kranz said. “I am so very appreciative of the New Venture team working alongside me over the summer, especially with my busy teaching schedule!”
She also took a moment to reflect on advice for other women considering the launch of a new business.
“You deserve to be in the room, at the table, and speaking from the podium. Although I often struggle believing this statement, I tell myself this statement every day,” Kranz said.
“I have absolutely no business background; I never took a business course in school and have worked as a nurse or educator my entire career,” she said. “But I do have unique experiences, a valid perspective, and drive to push for improvement.”
Now she wants to use those traits to make life better for others.
The New Venture Accelerator is a partnership between Auburn’s Harbert College of Business and the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation. Learn more about the New Venture Accelerator and Auburn’s entrepreneurial offerings.