Louisiana's Largest Healthcare Leaders Launch Nationwide Call for Startup Partners in Innovation, Investment Opportunities

Nov. 21, 2019

NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Business Alliance and two of the region’s largest healthcare organizations—Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Ochsner Health System — today announced they are looking for new partners to address critical behavioral health needs for their customers.

The team is now accepting applications for the 2020 New Orleans Health Innovators Challenges. The Health Innovators Challenge is a nationwide call for startups to offer solutions to significant healthcare problems. Applicants compete to win cash prizes, opportunities to pilot programs in some of the region’s largest medical institutions and in-kind donations. Applications must be submitted online at www.nolaba.org/challenge by Jan. 15, 2020.

This year’s challenge is to develop a targeted intervention addressing social isolation in the aging adult population. In just 10 years, the number of people in the United States age 65 and older increased from 37.2 million to 52 million. With more seniors choosing to age in place and live alone, addressing the prevalence of social isolation has become a global health priority.

“Growth stage companies need talent, funding capital and customers as they make their case to investors and strategic partners. The Health Innovators Challenges directly addresses the funding capital and customer validation needs,” said Quentin L. Messer., Jr., president and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance. “With Blue Cross and Ochsner Health System, we are proud to invite the world’s leading entrepreneurs focused on behavioral health to present their solutions here in New Orleans and begin to transform lives globally, using New Orleans as a launching pad.”

“Through our partnership with Ochsner Health System and New Orleans Business Alliance, we’ve been able to discover emerging ideas and technology that have the potential to improve the services we offer our members, as well as bring more innovation to the healthcare industry in our state,” said Darrell Langlois, Blue Cross chief strategy and innovation officer. “As we enter the third year of this challenge, we’re very excited to learn from those proposing innovative ideas to address social isolation, which is a growing behavioral health need that affects overall health, particularly for our members 65 and older.”  

“Ochsner Health System and innovationOchsner (iO) are passionate about using innovation to build a healthier, stronger community,” said Aimee Quirk, CEO of iO. “We have identified social isolation as an important factor that affects not only quality of life but also health and health outcomes. As a result, we are challenging innovators to come forward with creative ideas to solve this issue and help us develop new interventions to save and change more lives and improve individual and population health.”

Additional challenges presented by Tulane Health System, Lafayette General Health, LCMC Health’s New Orleans East Hospital, Tulane University, the City of New Orleans Health Department and the Claiborne Corridor Cultural Innovation District can be found at www.nolaba.org/challenge.

The New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge was created in 2017 by the New Orleans Business Alliance, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Ochsner Health System to drive healthcare innovation and investment in New Orleans by creating a community where doctors, patients, nurses, hospital leaders, scientists, designers and leaders can collaborate, connect and co-create the future of medicine for New Orleans and beyond.