I was very excited to be part of the launch of the latest New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge recently.
Every year, Blue Cross partners with Ochsner Health System and the New Orleans Business Alliance to pick out one really challenging part of Louisiana’s healthcare problems and allow technologically focused people who want to fix that problem compete for start-up funds that help them get that done.
The problem we focused on this year is what we call, in shorthand, “social determinants of health.” Those are the issues that hinder people from getting better even with medical treatments. It looks past what happens in the doctor’s office or hospital to what is going on in people’s lives. These are things like access to good food, living alone, functional air conditioning in summer and more. We’ve found that these issues aren’t only determined by a person’s socio-economic status; where you live, your age, who else lives in your home and your day-to-day responsibilities can play a huge part.
This year, the Blue Cross challenge focuses on how to gather the appropriate data to have a more complete picture of an individual’s health needs and intervene in a way that helps people overcome the social problems that hurt their health.
The portal to apply for the 2019 New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge opened last week, and I encourage startups to view and apply. There are also additional challenges sponsored by New Orleans Health Department, Tulane Health System and Lafayette General Foundation. The application deadline is Jan. 13, 2019. This is a really exciting push for innovation in healthcare delivery, and I’m glad that Blue Cross is a part of it.