Atlanta’s Emory Healthcare is launching an innovation hub to develop, test and implement technology solutions designed to minimize cost burdens for both patients and providers, while improving health outcomes.

The Emory Healthcare Innovation Hub, which is slated to launch on September 1, will partner with leading tech companies in critical health IT areas—such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and the Internet of Things—with a focus on putting patients at the center of care delivery.

Atlanta-based digital health vendor Sharecare, which provides a consumer wellness engagement platform, is the first partner to be announced by Emory—other partners will be announced over the next few months, the provider organization says.

“The Sharecare and Emory Healthcare partnership will accelerate the development of evidence-based digital health solutions targeted at improving the health of the state of Georgia,” according to the announcement, which references the fact that the state falls below the national average for overall wellbeing—data from the Gallup-Sharecare Wellbeing Index says the state dropped to 31 out of 50 states in 2017 versus 29 in 2016.

“Sharecare is going to be one of our lead sponsors—we’re going to have potentially up to eight strategic partners,” says Scott Boden, MD, vice president of business innovation for Emory Healthcare and chief medical and quality officer for Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital. “Sharecare has a very nice digital health platform with a lot of connectivity to consumers and patients. It’s a good partner to have in the toolbox when you’re trying to design and engineer health IT-based solutions for patients.”

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According to Boden, Emory is looking to partner with technology leaders to create an ecosystem of rapid innovation to “identify the most pressing and most fundable opportunities” and matching them with solutions to accelerate commercialization. “This hub is based on putting all the thought leaders, problem solvers and business case developers in the same space to rapidly identify, prototype, develop and commercialize solutions.”

Boden says these solutions could potentially end up being start-ups. He notes that Innovation Hub Enterprises, a research, design and strategy firm, will oversee the Emory Healthcare Innovation Hub, including raising a venture fund for investing in the development and acceleration of early-stage, consumer-centric health technologies and care models.

Because Emory is one of the nation’s most comprehensive academic health systems, Boden contends that the provider organization is ideally positioned with “both its brain trust and its delivery venues” to help solve the healthcare industry’s many challenges.

“As the U.S. healthcare system shifts from fee-for-service to value-based care, it is critical that we not only understand the evolving needs of patients and providers but also address those needs in ways that maximize technology to both enable the best possible care and engage patients throughout the entire care journey,” he adds. “The idea here is to take the best that comes with an academic medical center and partner it with real-world business professionals.”

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