Health care startups invited to pitch ideas to major employers

Calling all health care entrepreneurs. The National Business Group on Heath wants to take a look at start-ups with “innovative solutions to improve health, or enhance the efficiency, delivery or consumer experience within the health care system,” according to NBGH CEO Brian Marcotte.

They’ll be invited to show off their wares in front of a panel of major employers such as Marriott, Boeing, Kroeger and Whirlpool, who will provide advice (and perhaps even development assistance), in a new program modeled after reality TV programs like “Shark Tank.”

The new initiative, called the Health Innovations Forum, stems from a recognition that “there is a need for innovative and disruptive solutions to transform the delivery system and improve the health of employees,” Marcotte said.

See also: Tech startups can help employers navigate the health care system

The Forum opened for business this week, inviting health care innovators to run through a gauntlet of critics, beginning with an online application. The ultimate reward for applicants that clear the initial hurdles to make their pitch to an entity called the Employer Council.

That body consists of “nearly two dozen large employers that have agreed to conduct a comprehensive review of the startups’ solution, serve as a mentor… and potentially conduct a pilot study of the programs that fit with their culture, employee value proposition and health care strategy,” the NBGH said in a statement.

The payoff

Also, start-ups that reach the finish line of the winnowing process “will have the opportunity to present their programs to a broad group of employers at appropriate NBGH venues including conferences, meetings and webinars,” according to the organization.

Members of that Council include Marriot International, McGraw-Hill Financial, The Boeing Company, The Hartford, The Kroger Co, Union Pacific Railroad Company and Whirlpool Corporation.

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The web-based application process begins with answering several basic questions about the concept. If approved to advance to the next round, applications are required to pay a $3,500 application fee and then complete the “full application.”

Applicants that don’t make it to the final round are promised a consolation prize consisting of an “aggregate report representing feedback of at least three large employers.”

May 31 is the cut-off date for the initial round of elimination.

NBGH describes the program as “shark tank-like,” a reference to the CNBC TV series in which aspiring entrepreneurs give their best shot to a panel of “shark” investors.

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