Innovation continues to be an increasingly important tool as we work to reimagine how care can and should be delivered. For us, being able to provide access to high quality, affordable health care is our top priority. We can’t do this without outside-the-box thinking and a creative approach.
It has become especially apparent how critical innovation is as the world fights back against COVID-19. Researchers, scientists and innovators across the globe are working to develop a vaccine for the virus. While that happens, we are relying on accurate and accessible testing. Currently, most of the COVID-19 tests are slow, expensive and – if you’ve had to take one – they can be pretty invasive.
That’s why we’re partnering with XPRIZE, OpenCovidScreen and a coalition of other national and regional health plans and tech companies. Together, we launched a $5 million rapid COVID testing competition to accelerate the development of high-quality COVID-19 testing that’s low cost, quick and easy to use.
Identifying a rapid testing solution is a critical step to containing the virus, safely reopening our country and advancing our mission of helping people and communities achieve better health.
Additionally, in April we launched our own COVID-19 Health Innovation Collaborative. It’s designed to identify scalable solutions that can relieve stress on our health care system during public health emergencies – like our current pandemic. We’re now validating a number of impressive ideas – including a virtual physical therapy platform, an AI-powered nutrition platform and a virtual addiction treatment solution.
Both COVID-19 and the recent focus on racial injustice are also shining a spotlight on the need to address health disparities. To meet THIS need, we created the Reshaping Health Access challenge. We put out a call across Florida targeting entrepreneurs, nonprofits, social innovators and grassroots organizations. We’re looking for novel approaches that provide accessible, quality, affordable health care and health education to communities and populations experiencing high levels of health inequity. And that call was answered.
We received more than 60 submissions, with ideas ranging from Alzheimer’s prevention to low cost dental services for rural areas. In September we’ll host four virtual regional pitch competitions between the best and brightest ideas, and then each region’s top winners will be invited to participate the finals in October.
I could not be prouder of the incredible work of our Innovation team. While many of these ideas were spurred by the current pandemic we’re facing, I firmly believe we will create sustainable solutions that have the power to change – and save lives long into the future.