A competition from Philadelphia regional payer Independence Blue Cross seeking ways to improve health and wellness selected two companies that signify big trends in healthcare technology — telemedicine and ways to reduce the number of people using emergency rooms for nonemergency needs.
As the winners of the IBX Game Changers Challenge, 1DocWay, QuickSeeMD, and a company developed to help teach how to prepare nutritious, tasty foods — Kitchen Cred– receive a $50,000 grant toward implementation of their proposed products or programs and up to three months of office space, business support and advisory services at Venturef0rth, a Philadelphia incubator. They also receive business mentoring from Wharton Entrepreneurial programs and a consulting session with ?What If! Innovation Partners to help develop their concepts for maximum impact.
1DocWay’s telemedicine service is intended to provide access to psychiatrists for people who suffer from mood disorders through an Internet video linkup with an eye to making healthcare more accessible to people in underserved areas of the United States. The company, led by Samir Malik, occupies an evolving sector of healthcare that has received some positive indications for growth. One of California’s largest health insurers has included a telepsychiatry company’s service as part of its coverage. John Linkous, who heads up the American Telemedicine Association, has said there are several opportunities for growth including hospital consolidation and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid support for telemedicine, particularly for behavioral health.
QuickSeeMD, a health IT company, won StartUp Weekend Health’s inaugural event in June. Since then the head of the company, Lon Hecht, has quit his day job to turn his attention to the development of the startup full time. He envisions his Web-based and mobile app service as reducing costs for health plans, hospitals and providing more options for users. “This is not going to be one of those companies that tries to be the doctor,” Hecht told MedCity News in a phone interview. “This isn’t a symptom checker.” Hecht said he came up with the idea for helping users find healthcare alternatives to emergency rooms after hurting his ankle playing with his daughter and searching for hours to find somewhere to have it looked at since he didn’t feel like it was an emergency. He said he will use the money to develop proof of concept for the app.
The companies were selected among 12 other finalists. Judging criteria was based on the health problem the companies address, the impact they will have on the problem, how innovative and creative the idea is, the practicality of the idea, and the team working to build the idea into a sustainable product or program.
IBX President and CEO Daniel J. Hilferty said the challenge was developed so the insurer could be a catalyst for healthcare innovation and take the lead in finding new ways to improve health and wellness of the community by helping entrepreneurs bring their innovative ideas to fruition.
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