Henry Ford Innovations, Google Cloud, and Miracle Software Systems to Fund Innovations Focused on Health Inequities

April 27, 2021
Henry Ford Innovations Google Cloud and Miracle Software Systems to Fund Innovations Focused on Health Inequities image

Entrepreneurs with ideas for reducing health inequities through the use of digital technology could garner $75,000 in cash and in-kind support toward developing their digital solution at Henry Ford Health System. Henry Ford Innovations, the innovations arm of Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System, is partnering with Google Cloud and Miracle Software Systems to launch an international competition to find the most promising new solution.

The Digital Inclusion Challenge kicks off May 19 and runs through the summer. Carladenise Edwards, PhD, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of Henry Ford Health System will launch the challenge with a virtual conversation about the need for culturally sensitive and unbiased patient-centric solutions to be developed that bridge the gap between healthcare and technology.

"Through cross-industry partnerships, our ability to adopt technologies designed to end the disparities in health outcomes due to race, ethnicity, or gender increases exponentially," says Dr. Edwards. "We have achieved amazing advances in digital enablement in healthcare, especially over the last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic challenged us to think and act differently on behalf of our communities. But if the populations experiencing the worse health outcomes aren't benefiting from those achievements, then our journey is far from over."

"That's one of the most rewarding aspects of this challenge," says Martina Caldwell, MD, Medical Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Henry Ford Medical Group. "Not only will diverse thinkers and innovators who are truly committed to our shared health equity mission benefit from this challenge, our patients and the communities we serve will see a tangible benefit from the winning idea." 

All entries that address digital inclusion will be considered, with the focus on identifying those concepts that address the biggest pain points for digitally excluded patients. Among them:

  • How to make healthcare more affordable and accessible for digitally excluded patients 
  • How to make it easier for these patients to learn about their health and healthcare services 
  • How to empower care teams to deliver better services to these patients 

"Technology can be a powerful driver for improving access and equity in health," says Esteban López, Healthcare and Life Sciences, Google Cloud. "It's important for us all to come together to empower innovation and shape the future of health."

Entries are due by June 24, 2021. Entrepreneurs, clinicians, engineers, designers, and other innovators are invited to participate. The challenge team also plans to partner with international and Detroit-based organizations to actively recruit women and minority applicants. Twenty finalists will be announced in July 2021. That list will be narrowed in late summer to five, who will then participate in a live pitch competition.

"Providing pathways for innovative entrepreneurs, engineers, designers or others to present their original ideas is critical to ensuring healthcare models keep pace with changing patient and health industry needs," says Prasad Lokam, CEO of Miracle Software Systems. "Being a tech savvy company, we encourage the pioneering spirit of those who have a desire to make healthcare more equitable."

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