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Healthcare Leaders to Launch 2019 New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge to Grow Local Biotechnology Industry and Improve Local Healthcare


The New Orleans Business Alliance today announced it will partner once again with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Ochsner Health System to launch the second award-winning New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge.

The spring 2018 inaugural event brought health technology startups to New Orleans to compete in pitch competitions addressing diabetes care, interoperability and patient navigation. The 2019 launch event takes place Friday, Nov. 9 at the New Orleans Jazz Market from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“With this event, we are looking for two sets of results: The first is to assist our local healthcare community with addressing key challenges they and their patients face daily, and the second is to attract new digital health and bioinnovation businesses to the city, thereby growing our economy and job opportunities for our citizens,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., New Orleans Business Alliance president and CEO. “When you combine the strength of our local medical community and the city’s attractiveness to digital technology companies, New Orleans Health Innovators improves not only New Orleanians’ lives but also helps to accelerate the diversification of the local economy by attracting some of the nation’s most promising technology companies.”

Challenges and NOLA Business Opportunities

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Ochsner Health System will unveil their 2019 Challenge Statements, followed by Challenge Statements from: Tulane Health System, Lafayette General Foundation, and new participants, the New Orleans Department of Health and University Medical Center.

Startups will compete for cash prizes, opportunities to pilot their technology with the largest healthcare providers in the state and access to startup resources in New Orleans.

“With the explosion of digital applications, advances in technology are rapidly changing the way healthcare is delivered and have the opportunity to create better health outcomes. At Ochsner, we know that integrating smart technology and data into the way care is delivered can help us create precision-focused, patient-centered solutions that will make the experience and delivery of healthcare better, and our communities healthier, while lowering costs,” said Aimee Quirk, CEO, innovationOchsner. “The NOLAHI challenge is a great way to engage high-growth startups and encourage entrepreneurs to come forward with smart solutions to some of healthcare’s most pressing problems.”

Vindell Washington, M.D., Blue Cross chief medical officer said “More digital tools and technology are entering the healthcare market, and those are changing the way we approach care and how we interact with patient. The New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge has been a great way for us to partner with Ochsner and the New Orleans Business Alliance to seek up-and-coming solutions that can help us better connect with members and do more outside of doctor’s office visits to keep them well. We are encouraged by the solutions we found through our Diabetes Challenge in 2018, and we look forward to hearing new ideas for the second challenge.”

Dr. Lowry Curley, president and CEO of AxoSim, will provide a keynote “fireside chat” addressing opportunities for digital health startups in New Orleans. With a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Tulane University, Curley utilized his entrepreneurial spirit, co-founding AxoSim in 2014 and introducing the Nerve-on-a-Chip platform. The technology revolutionizes the search for cures to the most devastating neurodegenerative diseases in the world.

“In pioneering new technologies, Dr. Curley knows the opportunities available for bio-related startups in New Orleans,” added Messer. “New Orleans boasts two medical schools with an additional physician training program just across the parish line, and 10 colleges and universities granting Associate and Bachelor’s degrees. The engagement of the state’s largest payor, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, underscores the unique network effects that can be realized in our local healthcare delivery ecosystem.”

Following the launch, a portal allowing digital health startups to submittheir applications will go live. The New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge culminates in spring 2019, with a pitch competition presented during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.

Award-Winning Event

The New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge recently won the International Economic Development Council’s Gold Award for Economic Development for the 2018 Challenge.

NOLABA will present the award to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Ochsner Health System at the launch event.

Omega Concierge Services, a supporter of healthcare systems and the entrepreneurial ecosystem, is an additional sponsor of the 2019 event.

For event information and to RSVP for the public launch, click here.

About the New Orleans Business Alliance

One of only 70 Accredited Economic Development Organizations worldwide, the New Orleans Business Alliance is the official professional economic development organization for New Orleans. Formed in 2010, the public-private partnership focuses on holistic economic development: attract new business, grow existing businesses, revitalize neighborhoods and facilitate comprehensive workforce development programs beneficial for jobseekers and employers. By pursuing an inclusive economic development strategy, we’ll create the perfect intersection of culture and commerce while delivering New Orleanians enhanced economic security. Visit nolaba.org for more information.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. We invest both time and money in the communities we serve, supporting the health and wellbeing of Louisianians through more than 200 charitable organizations.

With our subsidiaries, HMO Louisiana and Southern National Life, we provide group and individual health insurance plans, life and disability insurance, group voluntary products and administrative services to one out of four Louisiana residents. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana also provides Medicare supplement and Medicare Advantage plans and is a partner in offering the Healthy Blue Medicaid Managed care plan. Louisiana is the only state where we operate, with offices in every major region to serve our customers.

Founded in New Orleans in 1934, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is a tax-paying non-profit health insurer. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

To learn more, visit our website at www.bcbsla.com.

About Ochsner Health System

Ochsner Health System is Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, healthcare system. Driven by a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate, coordinated clinical and hospital patient care is provided across the region by Ochsner’s 30 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and more than 80 health centers and urgent care centers. Ochsner is the only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Hospital” across three specialty categories caring for patients from all 50 states and more than 60 countries worldwide each year. Ochsner employs more than 19,000 employees and over 1,200 physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties, and conducts more than 700 clinical research studies. Ochsner Health System is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.


For media inquiry contact: Morgan Stewart, New Orleans Business Alliance, 504-460-7024, mstewart@nolaba.org .



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