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Community invited to pitch health care innovations at UMMC forum

Published on Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The University of Mississippi Medical Center is looking for community members interested in changing the future of health care.

On Thursday, May 9, UMMC’s Health Innovation and Transformation Center, or HIT, will hold its first PITCH (Partners Innovating Technology to Change Healthcare) competition from 5-9 p.m. in Classroom Wing room 106 at UMMC.

PITCH, sponsored by WeHealth by Servier, is a public opportunity to showcase ideas, learn what it takes to advance them, network with like-minded individuals, and get motivated to keep innovating.

“Our goal for this event is to get people thinking creatively about health,” said Terrence Hibbert, director of innovation at UMMC. “We want people to say, ‘This is the way health works today, and here’s how it could be different or better.’”

On the registration page, attendees can indicate if they have an idea for health-care innovation. However, they don’t need an idea to register – they just need to be ready and excited to engage with the other attendees.

Hibbert said that while he expects many of the ideas to be technology-based, they do not have to be.

“The ideas could be for processes that we at UMMC could do better, or they could be ideas that grow into the next billion-dollar startup,” he said.

PITCH will work similar to a hackathon, where people share their ideas – for example, a mobile application that tracks your health or connects you with health professionals – then self-assemble into groups that work towards developing the most interesting or approachable ideas presented. Attendees will start by taking 60-90 seconds each to express their innovative idea, then will vote on the ideas they like best. People can then spend the remainder of PITCH refining the top five ideas.

Hibbert said that as of April 22nd, at least 10 people had submitted ideas with their registration.

But the process doesn’t stop there. Hibbert says these five teams will work with mentors over the following two weeks and prepare them to present at UMMC’s second Health Innovation and Transformation Forum on May 21.

Presented by the HIT Center, Plug and Play, and Innovate Mississippi, the Forum will feature a competition between the five PITCH ideas. It will also include events similar to last year’s forum, including a “Catfish Tank” session with start-up companies and investors, featured speakers, and networking opportunities. More details about this year’s HIT Forum will be available soon.

“We want to spark a culture of change and encourage people to think bigger about what health care could be,” Hibbert said.