This past fall, Parkview Health started looking for worldwide solutions to the infant mortality crisis. We called on innovators from around the world to participate in an event called the Healthy Mom and Baby Innovation Competition, which was created in partnership with MATTER, a global healthcare startup based in Chicago. The goal was to discover ideas that could reduce the infant mortality rate in northeast Indiana and around the world.
Why we started
In February, the Healthy Mom and Baby Innovation Competition launched as the second in a series of competitions that Parkview Health and its partners, the Indiana Chapter of HIMSS and the Management Performance Hub, organized to help address the increasing infant mortality rates. The competition challenged innovators to submit products, software or program solutions that had the promise and potential of reducing the incidence of infant mortality. The competition had two focus areas:
- How might we better support mom, prior to the birth of her child, by enhancing maternal health and resilience, providing seamless access to care, expert advice, education and better aligning her with both the clinical resources and social support needed to ensure a healthy pregnancy?
- How might we better support baby shortly after birth, by ensuring access to key nutritional supplements, safe sleep, and stable support structures and environments?
With an overwhelming response and entries submitted by 57 teams from 14 different states and six different countries, Parkview Health and their partners were excited to move forward, hoping to explore, source and pilot digital and device-enabled solutions or services that addressed one or a combination of the competition’s focus areas.
After a successful event, the winner of the Innovation Competition was Candlelit Therapy from New York, New York. Candlelit Therapy is an app-based therapy clinic and digital intervention that provides new and expectant parents with on-demand counseling. Their free mobile app will help moms discover, book and maintain mental health counseling on a budget that works for them. As the winners of the competition, Candlelit won $10,000, a year-long membership to MATTER, and a spot in the Accelerator Program and Pitch Competition.
When asked, the judges said they chose Candlelit because they felt their product was a great way to improve maternal mental health. They appreciated the hyper-focus on minority communities, as they are most affected by infant mortality.
The people’s choice
In addition to the winner, we held an audience poll during the live webinar, and the people's choice was Fetal Life from Prospect, Kentucky. Fetal Life is a specialized technology company dedicated to addressing the challenges around pregnancy by the integration of medical expertise, artificial intelligence and technological solutions. Their solutions include a smart uterine contraction monitoring handheld device, a smart fetal heart rate monitoring device and the mobile app MyFetalLife which consists of educational materials, interactive features and care plans for pregnant mothers. Their prize was an automatic spot in the Accelerator Program and Pitch Competition along with a year-long membership to MATTER.
In the third phase, finalist teams will develop and refine their concepts during the three-month-long virtual Accelerator Program where they will more fully develop their solution with mentors from MATTER, Parkview Health, Indiana's Management Performance Hub and other stakeholders from across the healthcare and investment community. All additional finalists will receive a year-long membership to MATTER a spot in the Pitch Competition. The three additional companies that were chosen as finalists to participate in the Accelerator Program are:
- Cardiovascular Imaging Research Lab (CVIRL) at Purdue University
Solution: CVIRL’s solution will be used on a day-to-day basis to predict and mitigate a mother’s risk for preeclampsia. The device will provide peace of mind to expectant mothers, reduce time spent in a clinic and reduce the cost of prenatal care. Daily autonomous monitoring of the patient will lead to fewer visits to a clinic, saving time and money for both the patient and healthcare provider. Longitudinal at-home monitoring will result in safer pregnancies for mother and child. Infants will start life with better opportunities to develop physically, cognitively, and emotionally by enduring fewer pregnancy complications.
- TheraB Medical
Solution: The mission of TheraB is to change the approach of phototherapy to a method that fosters maternal-infant bonding, breastfeeding and family togetherness. The product can reduce hospital stays and lessen nursing staff deployment for infants with jaundice. The SnugLit device treats jaundice with phototherapy delivered through a wearable infant swaddle. The device features 2 pieces, a reusable light pad and a disposable cotton swaddle which combine to provide an all-in-one phototherapy treatment.
- Parkview’s Advanced Simulation Lab
Solution: Visual representation of anatomic and physiologic responses of different infant sleep positions will be utilized to shift the paradigm surrounding safe sleep perceptions and beliefs of African American infant caregivers and family members. Simulations of safe and unsafe sleep practices will be used in the learning experience.
The final phase and event within the Innovation Competition will be the Pitch Competition held on September 17th. This will be another virtual competition where each of the finalists will make a pitch to the Parkview judges to win a potential pilot. To watch the virtual Pitch competition, please visit our registration page.
Upcoming dates and milestones
- Accelerator – Jun 1 – Aug 31, 2020
The finalist teams will develop and refine their concepts in the three-month-long virtual Accelerator Program where they will build and test their solution with Management Performance Hub mentors, MATTER and Parkview staff and stakeholders from across the healthcare community.
- Final Pitch Day – Sept 17, 2020
Finalist teams will present to a community of healthcare professionals, Parkview leaders, and outside investors to pitch their ideas for potential pilot opportunities and funding. All teams participating in the final pitch day will receive a one-year global membership to MATTER.