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By CATALYST @ HEALTH 2.0

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has underscored the need for efficient and innovative emergency response. Major health organizations, such as the American Hospital Association, have provided resources that can be utilized for organizational preparedness, caring for patients, and enabling the workforce during the pandemic.

As COVID-19 brought to light the lack of emergency response preparedness in the health care system, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and Catalyst saw an opportunity to highlight digital health’s potential to support health care stakeholders and the general public. RWJF and Catalyst partnered to launch two Innovation Challenges on Emergency Response for the General Public and Emergency Response for the Health Care System. 

The Emergency Response Innovation Challenges asked innovators to develop a health technology tool to support the needs of individuals as well as health care systems affected by a large-scale health crisis, such as a pandemic or natural disaster. The Challenges saw a record number of applications— nearly 125 applications were submitted to the General Public Challenge and over 130 applications were submitted to the Health Care System Challenge. 

An expert panel of judges across the health tech, venture capital, design, and emergency response industries evaluated the entries and selected five semi-finalists from each challenge to advance to the next round. Congratulations to:

Emergency Response for the General Public Semi-Finalists:

Fresh EBT by Propel– A technology tool for SNAP families to address food insecurity & economic vulnerability in times of crisis.   CovidSMS– CovidSMS is a text message-based platform providing city-specific information and resources to help low-income communities endure COVID-19.Front-Line Force- A platform that connects volunteers 1:1 with front-line healthcare workers to complete tasks for them in crises.Binformed Covidata– Binformed is a clinically-driven comprehensive desktop + mobile infectious disease, epidemic + pandemic management tool targeting suppression and containment of diseases such as COVID-19.Evva Health– Hub-and-Spoke

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