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Diane Miller with PeDIA product
SCORE Inducts Business Acumen into PeDIA's Skillset

Pedia LLC, Diane Miller

Title / Role: Founder
Location: Fairfax, Virginia
Formed in: 2015
My successes.

With my mentors' guidance. I developed channels and representatives, secured tool fabrication and manufacturing, and created targeted marketing to an audience (hospitals, etc.) that requires adherence to detailed and sometimes bureaucratic procedures. I'm now in negotiations with a major medical device distributor and Fred advises me with some skills.  He also encourages me and helps me to feel competent. I think he's my biggest fan!

What do you do?

I invented a Pediatric Device for Induction of Anesthesia device (PeDIA for short) to significantly decrease or eliminate the anxiety and fear children commonly experience during the standard masked induction ahead of surgery. Instead of forcing a claustrophobic-feeling anesthesia mask filled with noxious gases over a child's mouth and nose, PEDIA offers a mask-free,  child-friendly, medical-grade WHISTLING balloon as an adjunct to induction. The anesthesia provider fills the PEDIA 'balloon' with anesthesia gases and the child inhales and exhales those gases. They cannot smell the gases and don't feel confined. The colorful balloon and whistling sounds distract and entertain as the child basically induces his/herself. The three colors also offer a child choices which further engenders cooperation. This can increase patient, parental, and staff satisfaction.

What inspired you to start your business?

After 20+ years as a CRNA - certified registered nurse anesthetist  - and watching children struggle against the anesthesia mask in the operating room, I had a stroke of inspiration and invented a medical device to ease the anxiety of pediatric patients during induction. One day, during a particularly brutal induction, with a 4-year-old child screaming, crying, kicking, and pushing away the smelly anesthesia mask, I heard one of the nurses say, "Just blow up the balloon, honey," referring to a reservoir bag on the anesthesia machine--which was just something providers say. I thought "Why not really give him one?" So, I started the design process of PeDIA.

What's special about your business?

The experience of mask-based induction can be traumatizing for children undergoing surgery and has the potential to leave these kids with negative emotional scarring and maladaptive behavioral changes that can last weeks, months, or even years. My invention PeDIA (Pediatric Device for Induction of Anesthesia device) removes the mask from the induction process and offers a colorful, whistling balloon and play. After all, "play" is a child's best coping mechanism during a stressful time.

What is your relationship with SCORE? SCORE client What influenced you to seek help from SCORE?

As a medical provider, navigating the world of business was, and still is, an exponential learning curve. SCORE provided the mentorship needed.

How SCORE helped.

SCORE has made a huge difference in the progress and success of my business mainly because I was introduced to my mentor, Fred Glave. Originally, I was paired with a doctor who owned a clinic. As wonderful as he was, it wasn’t a good match. I needed a different type of mentor. I explained what I needed, and this doctor didn’t miss a beat. He wasn’t offended. He simply introduced me to Fred. Once Fred understood my needs, he went to work. As inconceivable as it sounds, Fred completely changed the way I looked at business and showed me, a medical healthcare worker, how and why a financial/profits and loss statement helps to run a business!  

What's great about my mentor?

Fred Glave understood exactly what I needed. From the outset, he gave me the knowledge and confidence to take the next right steps. When I met Fred, I didn’t even understand how distribution worked. I thought, erroneously, that I would have to pay reps a salary to distribute my product. That frightened me because my funds were lacking, to say the least. Fred explained how reps and distribution worked. That put my mind at ease which allowed me to pursue this avenue. He has made all the difference. Without his compassionate guidance and business acumen, I don’t think my business would have survived.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a small business?

I would tell them to pick their team wisely and to include a SCORE mentor. Choosing a team, I believe, is as important as the idea itself.  Lots of great ideas die because they cannot be operationalized. Yes, it's important to look at the bottom line and costs, but your team is not the place to bargain shop. You'll end up paying for that rookie mistake 10x over in the long run. 

What would you tell a fellow business owner about SCORE?

Do it. There are many people "out there" who offer to help, but few of them can offer the breadth and depth of experience SCORE offers.  My mentor met with me on a variety of topics and helped to navigate the overwhelming parts of my business.  He even sat in on team meetings with companies, just to give me a second set of ears.  If he didn't know the answer, he quickly reached out to other SCORE mentors.  I did what he said and followed his advice but he always listened before giving advice. Finally, it's FREE!  Where else can a budding business person (with bills up to his/her eyeballs) get experience and advice from a whole organization whose mission is to help?  So, do it.

Additional media
A child using PeDIA in the operating room
My mentors
Frederick Glave

I can help you with challenges you face with technology, marketing, manufacturing or financial...

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From left to right: Ed Coleman, SCORE District Director; Karen Williams, SCORE Mentor; Dr. Jessica Lee, Awardee and Co-founder of 413 LLC; and Larry Webb, SBA Washington Metropolitan Area District Director.
Small Businesses Honored by SCORE Washington DC
Ten local small businesses were honored this week at the SCORE Washington DC annual Client of the Year awards event. SCORE
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