Strengthening continuous improvement in hospitals for better health outcomes

Photo of Robert Buehrig delivering his pitch for Cogniom at the MedTech's Got Talent Challenge Rapid Fire Rounds, Sydney 2019.

29 OCTOBER 2019Cogniom was born when CEO and Co-founder Robert Buehrig’s Granny B was given medications at the wrong time during a hospital stay, resulting in a near-fatal complication that landed her in the ICU for five days.

For Robert, this was deeply troubling since he was the Senior Lead Systems Architect of the electronic medical records in over 80% of large hospitals across Australia. If the work he was doing wasn’t helping nurses and patients as advertised, then how could healthcare be improved?

Cogniom co-founder, Robert Bruehrig and his Granny B.

Robert and his Granny B.

Hospital digital transformations have a very high failure rate, at the cost of millions in taxpayer dollars.


“Royal commission reviews commonly point to a lack of goals, key metrics, and understanding the problem as the core issue,” says Robert.

“In response, Big Four consulting firms are charging roughly $5,500 per day and upwards of $230,000 for month-long observational studies that are created using rudimentary collection methods like Excel sheets and a stopwatch,” says Robert.

Digital transformations in hospitals aren’t performing as imagined and often struggle with worrying outcomes. The fallout in the healthcare industry is burnout on an already scarce nursing workforce, massive weight on the shoulders of our clinicians, and sub-par patient experiences.

“We can do better, we just need to equip hospitals with the right tools to ensure their success,” says Robert.

Driven to find a solution, Robert set to work creating Cogniom’s TANDM Suite, software that helps discover problems, identify the root cause, and calculate the potential benefits of their solutions.

Created for consulting firms and hospital improvement teams, it removes the need for manual paper processes and makes observational research instantly available at a fraction of the labour cost.

Robert’s software caught the attention of judges at the recent MedTech’s Got Talent Challenge Rapid Fire Rounds in Sydney, becoming one of four finalists and securing the support of his new mentor, Warwick Shaw from Johnson & Johnson.

Warwick will work closely with Robert in the coming weeks to help him get ready for the black-tie Gala Finals on Thursday 5 December at Sofitel Melbourne, where he will compete against the brightest emerging HealthTech entrepreneurs from across Australia for a share in $50,000. In an exciting development, entrepreneurs from India will also join the competition for the first time this year.

Robert Buehrig, co-founder of Cogniom and his new mentor Warwick Shaw from Johnson and Johnson.

Robert and mentor Warwick Shaw, Johnson and Johnson.

Robert signed up to the Rapid Fire Rounds without the aim of being selected. He loves helping other startups and wanted to see if he could leverage his contacts to help get their first pilots across the line. He was also grateful to be seen and network with other like-minded individuals in the healthcare space.

“However, meeting Warwick has been a blessing that has put us in front of more people passionate about helping innovative HealthTech than I could have imagined,” says Robert.

To other HealthTech entrepreneurs out there, Robert says that he cannot recommend the MedTech’s Got Talent Challenge highly enough.

“I’m an avid supporter of the Challenge and will never be able to repay them for everything they’ve helped us accomplish,” says Robert.

“Their involvement has launched us into so many new opportunities – any company looking for their first partnerships in healthcare should have this accelerator locked into their calendar.  All my gratitude and support to Jamal and the mentor team – I’ll be talking about our experiences from this program for years to come.”

Robert also recommends searching out MedTech accelerators and opportunities that are dedicated to the industry in Australia. He says that by becoming well known, Cogniom has increased their brand recognition rapidly in just a few months.

“Australian Health Accelerator, MedTech’s Got Talent, CSIRO On Prime, Melbourne Health Accelerator and BridgeTech Accelerator are all amazing resources and will definitely help get your idea and company in front of the right people,” says Robert.

Robert also urges entrepreneurs to find a mentor, or multiple advisors that have an extremely deep knowledge of the medical industry.

“Almost every deal we’ve made is the result of a handshake with someone at an accelerator or event and meeting key leaders in that space,” says Robert.

Want to see Robert deliver his pitch at the Gala Finals? Book your tickets today! Find out more about Cogniom and connect on LinkedIn!

Thank you to our major Challenge partners and sponsors – we couldn’t do this without you: The Federal Government, The Department of Industry, Innovation & Science; The Victorian Government, The Department of Jobs, Precincts & Regions; Global Victoria;  LaunchVic; Government of Karnataka; Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre; Johnson & Johnson; Cook Medical; Medtronic; K&L Gates; Vestech; IDE Group; Design + Industry; Tricycle Developments; Ingenuity Electronics Design; Outerspace Design; MiniFAB; LEAP Australia and Wave Digital.

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