Newswise — Baltimore, MD - The winner of the inaugural LifeBridge Health and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) Innovation Challenge is Socially Determined, a digital startup developing the science of social determinates of health (SDOH) and implementing community-based intervention programs.

The Washington, D.C.-based startup will receive $50,000 and the opportunity to partner with LifeBridge Heath and CareFirst to use its SDOH risk measurement and analytic platform to help the two organizations in their shared goal to improve the health of people in Baltimore.

In accepting the award, Socially Determined agreed to earmark the funds specifically for data integration focused on the City of Baltimore. In selecting Socially Determined, the partners saw the opportunity to use Socially Determined’s hyper-local analysis to help better coordinate care and target interventions for people who are adversely affected by social determinants, such as lack of access to transportation, healthy food and housing.

Socially Determined was one of six finalists that pitched their ideas in a Shark-Tank style** competition at the inaugural LifeBridge Health/CareFirst “Payvider Summit,” June 5 at CareFirst’s Headquarters in Baltimore. Finalists had five minutes to pitch their ideas, followed by a five-minute Q&A from a panel of industry experts, including representatives from CareFirst and LifeBridge Health.

More than 100 companies entered the competition, which was the first of its kind nationally, with inventive solutions to healthcare needs that included a digital component such as mobile apps, sensors, wearable devices, data analytics, and tools to support the way healthcare is delivered.

At the event, LifeBridge Health and CareFirst also announced that they are partnering to open an innovation center for healthcare in Baltimore. It will house startups focusing on digital healthcare technologies with a goal of developing dynamic health delivery models that provide the best care, engage patients and reduce costs.

Details of the partnership and the new business incubator are in the early stages, but the partners plan for a $5 million fund to invest in promising ideas with the aim to launch the program by the end of 2019.

The judges for the Innovation Challenge were:

  • Stacia Cohen, executive vice president of medical affairs at CareFirst;
  • Letitia Dzirasa, Baltimore City health commissioner;
  • Brian Pieninck, president and CEO of CareFirst;
  • Jonathan Ringo, president of Sinai Hospital and senior vice president of LifeBridge Health;
  • Kim Schatzel, president of Towson University; and,
  • Tressa Springmann, chief innovation officer at LifeBridge Health

The other Innovation Challenge finalists were:

  • Docket – partnering with public health agencies to expand consumer access to immunization records with human-centric design and QR codes
  • Kermit – supplying real-time data on implantable medical device transactions to significantly reduce costs and improve patient care
  • Nest Collaborative – focusing on improving maternal-child health by expanding access to payer-reimbursed “telelactation” support
  • Pilleve – offering a smartphone application to prevent opioid misuse by monitoring a person’s intake and securely holding the drugs
  • Rubitection – developing a system for the early detection and intervention of bedsores while minimizing the spread of infection.

**Shark Tank is a registered service mark of Sony Pictures Television, Inc.