Healthworx, the innovation and investment arm of CareFirst, is challenging the Maryland Innovation Community to bring forward new ideas to improve health equity by engaging families, neighborhoods and local communities. Healthworx is searching for creative and interdisciplinary solutions that focus on improving health outcomes for a specific neighborhood or community, based on lived experience, healthcare expertise, technological-savvy and social sciences.
Each of us depends on our wider community to access care. We depend on our families, friends and neighbors to refer doctors, drive us to appointments, cook us food and give us advice on new treatments or vaccines. Unfortunately, most healthcare systems don’t engage communities when designing and providing healthcare, resulting in inequitable access to quality care between different urban neighborhoods or rural towns.
Healthworx is looking for new ways to work within existing community structures to provide more equitable care. This might include new ways of capturing data at the community-level, to better understand that specific population, their needs, and what interventions might be most useful to improve health outcomes. Put another way – how do we get away from population-level data models that often skew towards the “majority” experience? Or, it could focus on the care journey that an individual or family takes when trying to access healthcare, such as who they ask for advice and care, where they go for healthcare, and what barriers stand in their way. Are there ways to bring care to people based on their daily habits, through virtual care or non-traditional care settings like playgrounds? Or maybe there are opportunities to incentivize families, neighborhoods, apartment complexes, or other local communities to improve care, through education and rewards. Can we apply behavioral economics, psychology, and other best practices to nudge towards healthier behaviors?
There are so many ways to engage community relationships to improve health decisions and outcomes and create a healthier future for everyone. This health equity is a key pillar of Healthworx, where we create, co-create and invest in companies within the intersection of healthcare and innovation. Healthworx is excited to work with Maryland innovators to build a healthier future for all people by changing the way that community health works.