March 20, 2018
NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) joined Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Ochsner Health System to present Alertgy with $36,000 on Tuesday as part of the inaugural New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge. Alertgy will now work within the New Orleans medical community to further develop its solution – a wearable, noninvasive, real-time blood glucose monitoring and alert system that works with a smartphone application.
“This is an incredible endorsement and validation that the need I’ve been telling people about is a valid need,” said Alertgy President Marc Rippen, who founded the company in Melbourne, Fla. “Working with Blue Cross and Ochsner will help us move the company forward and get this product tested and out to market as soon as possible. This is the kind of traction that makes a difference.”
NOLAHI, a groundbreaking initiative to connect the city’s leading healthcare stakeholders with the best high-growth startups in the nation, helped kick off the 10th annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week at The Shop at the Contemporary Arts Center. In addition to winning the cash prize and pilot opportunity, Alertgy also wins free co-working space to launch its company presence in New Orleans, along with legal and consulting services.
Diabetes is among the leading causes of death in Louisiana, inspiring Blue Cross and Ochsner to look for true innovations in determining three finalists and the eventual winner. In 2000, 6.6 percent of Louisiana adults had diabetes, which rose to 11.6 percent by 2013, according to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
“As a national and global healthcare destination, Ochsner continues to transform care and deliver innovative new ways to address chronic disease, like diabetes that create value and improve health,” said Aimee Quirk, CEO, innovationOchsner. “We are proud to partner with Blue Cross who shares the same vision in supporting entrepreneurship to drive positive change in the healthcare industry. We also applaud all of the finalists for bringing forward-thinking solutions that can make a difference for our patients and the community.”
The other two finalists were Bonbouton (New York, N.Y.) and DIASYST (Atlanta). They were chosen from a pool of national applicants by an elite group of judges and online crowd voting.
“Blue Cross was eager to partner with Ochsner on this challenge because we both recognize that digital technology and innovation will be critical to changing the way healthcare is delivered in our state,” said Dr. Vindell Washington, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana chief medical officer. “We’re very encouraged by the solutions we’ve found through NOLAHI, and we thank New Orleans Business Alliance for the opportunity to seek new ways of engaging patients with diabetes and help them stay on top of their care.”
NOLABA also revealed the winners of two other NOLAHI challenges during a fireside chat on Tuesday. Medspace (San Diego, Calif.) won the Navigator Challenge by Tulane Health System, which sought digital solutions for patient navigation without adding full-time employees. SimplyVital Health (Bloomfield, Conn.) won the Interoperability Challenge by Lafayette General Foundation, which focused on finding innovative solutions to improve access to healthcare data through blockchain.
“Congratulations to Alertgy and all the NOLAHI finalists,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., NOLABA President & CEO. “Launching NOLAHI was a great experience partnering with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Ochsner Health System and other healthcare delivery partners to connect the New Orleans region to digital health innovations that enhance treatment of diabetes, among other challenges facing healthcare providers and payers. Economic development matters because it transforms people’s lives, and today’s NOLAHI represents another step forward in our collective efforts to change lives through a growing, diversified economy. We look forward to engaging with Alertgy to create more economic benefits for the New Orleans region over the coming weeks and months.”
About the New Orleans Business Alliance:
A public-private partnership between the business community and city government, the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) is the official economic development organization for the city of New Orleans. It was formed in 2010 at the behest of Mayor Mitch Landrieu and a coalition of business and civic leaders to employ the best practices in economic development to reposition New Orleans as the ideal intersection of commerce and culture. Its 17-member Board comprises a cross-section of New Orleans leaders, including Mayor Mitch Landrieu and business professionals from varied industries. NOLABA earned Accredited Economic Development Organization status from the International Economic Development Council in April 2017. Visit nolaba.org for more information.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana:
Founded in New Orleans in 1934, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is a private, fully taxed mutual company, owned by policyholders—not shareholders. It is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and is governed by a Louisiana Board of Directors. The company and its subsidiaries provide group and individual health insurance plans, life and disability insurance, group voluntary products and administrative services to Louisiana residents. With headquarters in Baton Rouge and eight district offices around the state, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to improving the lives of its customers by providing them with health guidance and affordable access to quality care. Learn more on the company’s website at www.bcbsla.com or visit its social media hub to connect via Facebook, Twitter and more.
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 and urgent care centers. Ochsner is the only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Hospital” across four specialty categories caring for patients from all 50 states and more than 80 countries worldwide each year. Ochsner employs more than 18,000 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.