The Healthy Mom and Baby Innovation Competition focuses on uncovering new and innovative ways to improve health outcomes for Indiana mothers and infants. Last year's competition was focused on infant mortality rates, while this year, they've set their sights on reducing maternal mortality for underrepresented mothers. With the help of Ethel Massing, innovation project specialist, Parkview Mirro Center for Research & Innovation, we had the opportunity to learn more about this year's competition, the winner and why reducing the incidence of maternal mortality is a vital component of enhancing the well-being for both mother and child.
What is the Innovation Competition?
The innovation competition is a global event that calls for innovators to submit unique solutions to big health problems. These innovators, often entrepreneurs, submit products, software or program ideas with the hope of winning a monetary prize and potential partnership opportunities with Parkview Health. At Parkview, our goal is to find great ideas that we can help turn into reality. We strive to partner with innovators to create change in healthcare and provide excellent care to our patients and those worldwide.
What was this year’s focus?
This year, our focus was on reducing maternal mortality, especially for underrepresented mothers. We sought to find new ways to support at-risk pregnant and new mothers throughout their healthcare journey and daily lives.
Why is this competition so important?
This competition helps bring to light the major health problems facing our communities and find new solutions to those challenges. Many of our competitors have a real chance at making a difference in the lives of patients. They just need the proper support. Our objective is to help push entrepreneurs forward so their solutions can create real, positive change in the world.
For example, last year, one of our teams came with just an idea for a safe sleep simulation product to help prevent sleep-related deaths in infants. With our help, that team now has a fully developed product and company that has begun to ship their safe sleep educational kits out to patient educators. This likely would not have happened without the innovation competition and their mentoring during the accelerator program.
How will this competition make a difference in reducing maternal mortality?
Just like last year's competition, we hope to find a solution that will make a real difference in saving the lives of our mothers and infants. Once we've picked that solution, we'll partner with the team and invest resources into helping make that solution a reality.
We offer unique opportunities to entrepreneurs and innovators here at the Mirro Center for Research and Innovation. We provide access to healthcare providers and research professionals that most startup companies don't currently have access to. The advice, opportunities, and partnership we offer can push a company to a working solution faster than they might achieve on their own.
Why should people care about maternal mortality?
Indiana's maternal mortality rate is 43.6 deaths per 100,000 live births, making it the third-highest in the country and ranking worse than many third-world countries. This is an unacceptable statistic. Our mothers deserve better and should be able to feel safe bringing a baby into this world. Being one of the largest health systems in the state, we have a responsibility to help reduce this rate. This competition provides us an excellent opportunity to discover and support a new solution that can help make birth safer for women not just here in Indiana but around the globe.
Who won the competition this year, and what was their innovation?
This year, NUA Surgical from Galway, Ireland, was the winner. Their innovation, the SteriCISION single-use, disposable retractor, was explicitly designed to manage the thick abdominal wall of larger patients to make c-sections safer. Most of the surgical equipment used in c-sections was created more than 20 years ago and not designed for this type of surgical procedure. Not all mothers have the same body type, yet there aren't multiple options available for surgeons. Additionally, roughly 50-66% of delivering mothers are overweight and at higher risk of infection and complication from a c-section. Our judges were excited by the capability of the SteriCISION product. Not only will the device free up hands in surgery, allowing providers to support patients in other ways, but it also has the potential to provide better visualization of the surgical field. As winners of the competition, NUA Surgical received a monetary prize, a one-year membership to Matter Health, and an automatic entry into the Accelerator Program and Pitch Competition.
Anyone interested in the final pitches can register for the December 15 event and watch it here.