NOLABA , Partners Host Virtual N.O. Health Innovators Challenge

people who cannot leave the house due to an epidemic

NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Business Alliance will present its third annual New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge on Thursday, Nov. 19 and Friday, Nov. 20. In addition to its annual digital health competition that brings together some of the best startups from around the country to collaborate with local healthcare leaders, this year’s online event will also feature a prominent keynote speaker and panel discussions with CEOs and founders of companies seeking to answer pressing issues facing the healthcare industry today. 

Selected NOLAHI finalists will have the opportunity to pitch solutions developed in response to this year’s Social Isolation Intervention Challenge, presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Ochsner Health, for a chance to win up to $36,000 in project funding. Social isolation has become a widespread problem amongst the growing senior population, making it an important area of focus for the 2019-2020 NOLAHI challenge. The winning solution should help reverse the current trend with collaborative solutions while improving overall health care utilization and outcomes.

“Finding ways to effectively address social isolation is of great importance to Blue Cross and to Ochsner because the United States is seeing an unprecedented demographic shift as the Baby Boomers get older and have more healthcare needs that can be greatly affected by what level of support they have,” said Darrell Langlois, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana senior vice president and chief strategy officer. “This year, with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s taken on even greater importance. Until there is a widely available vaccine, social distancing and limiting gatherings will be key to stopping the spread. That’s why it’s even more critical now to help people limit their exposure while also maintaining or forming social connections and having safe interactions with others. The solutions being pitched in the NOLAHI Challenge could be a great way to do this, and we look forward to hearing from the finalists.” 

“Ochsner has a longstanding commitment to reimagining healthcare and finding creative and innovative solutions to improve the health of the communities we serve,” said Aimee Quirk, CEO of innovationOchsner. “We welcome opportunities to collaborate with other innovators who share our vision, and NOLAHI has been a valuable platform to connect with entrepreneurs and new thinking. This year’s challenge, focused on the problem of social isolation, is especially timely given COVID-19 and I look forward to hearing the finalists’ ideas for effective, scalable and affordable interventions to address this important issue, and thereby improve health and quality of life, in the aging adult population.”

“We had no way of knowing how timely the BCBS of Louisiana and Ochsner Health Social Isolation challenge statement would be when we started this process a year ago. Now that the world has experienced levels of quarantining and isolation due to COVID-19, the solutions presented by the finalists on November 20th may have broader applications than anyone initially realized,” said Jeanette Weiland, Vice President of Bio, Innovation, & Special Projects at NOLABA.

During the special two-day event, NOLABA will also present the winners of HCA/Tulane Health System’s Transition of Care Challenge, Lafayette General Health System’s Healthcare Consumer Engagement Challenge, the New Orleans Health Department’s + New Orleans East Hospital’s Diabetes Management Challenge, and Tulane University’s + UJAMAA Economic Development’s I Deserve It! Challenge.

“The need for public-private partnerships to address the social determinants of health was a key finding of our most recent Community Health Assessment and our first cross-sector collaboration with local health systems and businesses. Working with industry to develop person-centered solutions to health care issues in the community is critically important to improving overall health and wellness. Health is wealth, and we know we cannot tackle public health issues alone. Improvements in our city’s wellbeing and prosperity, now more than ever, will only come together through shared goals and strategies,” said Dr. Jennifer Avegno, Director of New Orleans Health Department.

For more information or to register for the free event, click here.

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