Start-Up Demo Day to Spotlight Cutting-Edge Solutions to Healthcare Access
By Suzy Engwall
Having access to nutritious food, renting an apartment that is free of lead paint, and living in an area where pollution levels are low go a long way toward helping families enjoy healthy lives and reduce the risk of developing medical issues. These are all elements of the social determinants of health (SDOH), which measure how our short- and long-term health is influenced by the conditions in which we live, work and play.
While the pandemic has brought socioeconomic issues relating to healthcare into sharper focus, our current environment has highlighted other opportunities, including an increased desire among patients to access care when and where they want and need it – “Care Anywhere,” in other words. Underscoring that need is the fact that the rates of preventive care have dropped as individuals – particularly those who are older – have opted not to risk going to their doctor’s office. In the first nine months of 2020, children in the United States missed nine million routine vaccinations, with the consequences being lower herd immunity and increased occurrences of illnesses such as whooping cough.
Care Anywhere is about finding creative ways to deliver selective elements of medical treatment and therapies in new ways, such as drive-thru vaccination clinics or from the comfort of a patient’s home. Fortunately, some of the hottest technology companies are coming up with creative, impactful solutions to close these gaps and many others.
The Innovation Lab will showcase some of these solutions during our Start-Up Demo Day on February 11. The aim of the virtual event, which is currently open to registrants, is to help hospitals learn more about solutions to healthcare challenges, and we’ve invited a dozen innovative companies to share their ideas related to Care Anywhere and SDOH. The event will capitalize on the Lab’s ecosystem of innovators to help solve pressing issues for hospitals within our network and, for the first time, in other healthcare systems. Ultimately, we want healthcare organizations to find the right approaches to take back to their facilities and help them better meet community needs.
From matching children with disabilities to therapists, to remotely monitoring head injuries through a cap with integrated sensors, the solutions that will be presented are largely delivered through cutting-edge technology. Other featured innovations include telemedicine-enabled home monitoring of patients after hospital release, a mobile video platform that motivates individuals to show up for medical appointments and follow care plans, and digital tools that seamlessly blend on-site and remote musculoskeletal services.
Solving Hospitals’ Real Needs
Because these are important topics that our hospitals, including the Innovation Institute’s member owners, are struggling to manage, we wanted to bridge their needs with emerging solutions. As many know, the Innovation Lab focuses on early-stage ideas, and we help innovators nurture and grow those ideas with an eye toward commercialization.
Since the need for access to care is immediate, we also have a larger mission of helping healthcare organizations provide the best care to patients – whether the solution comes from a Lab initiative or from somewhere else. As a trusted member of the innovation ecosystem, we have unparalleled access to well-vetted start-ups that show real promise in key areas, which allows us to host this first-ever opportunity to match hospitals with great ideas that fit their needs. Historically, this kind of access has been limited to those within our Lab network, but, given the extent of the need today, we have opened this event and the valuable information that will be presented to the general healthcare community.
We turned to several business accelerators and incubators with which we have established relationships to identify and invite start-ups with offerings in pilot or launch stages:
- LRVHealth, which has a venture capital arm and is, like the Lab and Bon Secours Mercy Health (BSMH), part of the Innovation Institute.
- RedCrow, whose crowdsourcing website funds focus on healthcare start-ups and offers investors equity in some cases.
- CincyTech and BSMH, which have partnered to support human health and digital companies in Ohio.
- ScaleHealth, which has grown from its Los Angeles roots to working globally to connect healthcare and life science start-ups with different services, resources and capital sources.
These firms are leading development in the participating start-ups and advancing them toward their market potential, which includes introducing them to healthcare partners that need their solutions and raising funds to fuel additional product development. During the Demo Day event, LRVHealth will also provide an industry overview that speaks to these technological evolutions in healthcare delivery and resources.
Fresh Ideas to Modern Challenges
About a dozen companies will present during the session, bringing a range of ideas with a common thread of apps and technology platforms enabled by artificial intelligence. You can preview the list of participants and their cross-section of ideas at the bottom of the registration page – including direct patient monitoring, advancements in how patients and families connect with caregivers, and technology to help patients adhere to health protocols – prior to the event.
Without question, telehealth witnessed tremendous growth in the past year, as we’ve seen with our own hospital partners. But telehealth also came with obstacles, including the realization that elderly populations might not have cellphones – and if they do, they often aren’t smartphones. The bottom line is that a segment of patients is forgoing health care because they can’t figure out how to use these emerging options.
As we bring these start-up solutions to our communities, we learn more about what works and what still needs solving as we collaborate on new ideas that increase access to healthcare – often at more affordable levels than in-person services for certain offerings. Hospitals under the Innovation Institute umbrella have long served as pilot sites for homegrown ideas. This is a natural extension of our efforts to find new ways to deliver care, with the COVID-19 environment making this a more pressing issue than it ever was before.
At the end of the day, we are looking for matches between hospitals and health systems looking to solve for gaps in access to healthcare and Care Anywhere. We hope you’ll join us.
Sponsored by Sheppard Mullin, our Start-Up Demo Day is free and, for the first time, open to the public. The February 11 event is scheduled for 1:00-3:30 p.m. ET. Register now and find the start-up company that can help impact your patients’ lives and make healthcare easier for everyone.
Suzy Engwall is the Innovation Lab’s National Director, Western Region.