Addressing Health Equity and Improving Access to Care

MC: MassChallenge

MITRE’s Bridging Innovation team is excited to announce another year partnering with MassChallenge HealthTech (MCHT)!  MCHT is an innovation accelerator that specializes in pairing entrepreneurs with industry champions to provide start-ups with a range of advisory and financial supports to help them succeed in their line of business. MassChallenge partnered with the City of Boston, Massachusetts eHealth Initiative (MeHI) and Massachusetts Competitive Partnership (MACP) to establish a digital health innovation hub to improve health through entrepreneurship.

In light of the dramatic events in health due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MCHT’s 2021 challenge areas will focus on health equity and access to care, which naturally align with MITRE’s social justice platform and healthcare missions. This year, MITRE will collaborate closely with our government sponsor in the Medicare Medicaid Coordination Office (MMCO) at Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) to identify challenges facing individuals who are “dual-eligible”, that is they are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.  Our goal is to identify and mentor innovative solutions through MCHT to address those challenges and further leverage solutions to serve the broader community.

MCHT identified just over 70 start-ups to participate in the program with one of the most competitive and diverse cohorts to-date. Over 50% of startups have a self-identifying female founder (16) or a self-identifying diverse founder (17). In recent weeks, we reviewed and listened to short pitches from the start-ups and identified 12 to meet with one-on-one over the course of a single day. The down-select process was not easy, as each company is well positioned to make important changes to healthcare, and able to bring meaningful services and products to market.

Ultimately, we narrowed our selection to three startups – HUEDKinto, and Julota – whose strategic priorities align with the challenges identified by MMCO, providing support for all caregivers, better integrating care between healthcare providers and caregivers, and enhancing cultural competency among caregivers and physicians.  We extended an offer to each company, all of which were accepted, to serve as a Strategic Advisor with the goal of providing the companies with an understanding of CMS programmatic landscape to further support service/product development and strategies for informing CMS on their market innovations.

We are very excited to kick-off our partnerships with these amazing companies in 2021.  In early January, we will meet with each company individually (this time under more relaxed conditions than the fast-paced matching exercises!) and begin to collaborate on our engagement plan, including defining goals, deliverables, and outcomes.  We will provide updates as the MCHT accelerator program progresses.

By David Cusano, Paula Huston & Cheryl Powell

December 2020

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