Baltimore, MD - LifeBridge Health and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) have joined forces for a Shark Tank-style challenge to find the best and brightest digital health startups to present innovative ideas that could change the face of healthcare. Challenge participants are presented with the chance to earn a prize of up to $50,000 and the opportunity to work directly with healthcare practitioners and industry experts to further their work. “Being a champion of innovation and groundbreaking solutions to ongoing healthcare issues is an essential part of the LifeBridge Health mission to provide the best care for our patients and the communities we serve,” said Dr. Jonathan Ringo, senior vice president of LifeBridge Health, and president and chief operating officer of Sinai Hospital. “We are thrilled to be joining with CareFirst in this exciting new endeavor.” “CareFirst is expanding the dialogue around innovation within our own organization, and we are interested to learn more about the ideas others have for transforming the healthcare industry,” said CareFirst President & CEO Brian D. Pieninck. “Thinking of better, smarter ways to deliver care to our members and the community will go a long way toward improving the health of those we serve.” The LifeBridge Health Innovation team and CareFirst Healthworx team developed this event to support local entrepreneurs seeking capital to foster new ideas and to connect startups and experienced professionals who can help turn those ideas into realities. Any individual or group working on an early-stage solution designed to address challenges in healthcare are welcome to participate if they meet the criteria on the application (see link below). Ideas should include a digital component such as mobile apps, sensors, wearable devices, data analytics and tools to support decision-making. The application deadline is April 15, 2019. A maximum of three teams can be chosen as winners. The first-place team will receive a minimum of $20,000 but can also be considered for full funding of up to $50,000 if no other teams are selected. The challenge winner (or winners) will also receive one-year free membership in the LifeBridge Startup Affiliate Program, which includes access to the LifeBridge Innovation & Research team and facilitated introductions to clinicians. While not guaranteed, winners may also be eligible to participate in pilot programs at LifeBridge Health. Additionally, winners will have the opportunity to connect with the LifeBridge Health clinical network, which includes innovation and research support, as well as clinical mentorship opportunities. The Shark Tank-style contest will be part of a four-hour event on June 5 held at CareFirst’s Canton, MD headquarters including speakers, a panel discussion and networking opportunities. The event website has more information, including registration and the Innovation Challenge application: www.lifebridgehealth.org/innovationchallenge Shark Tank is a registered service mark of Sony Pictures Television, Inc. About LifeBridge Health: LifeBridge Health is one of the largest providers of health services in Maryland. It consists of Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Northwest Hospital, Carroll Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, LifeBridge Health & Fitness, hundreds of primary care and specialty physicians throughout Maryland, and many affiliated health-related partners. More information is available at www.lifebridgehealth.org. About CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield In its 82nd year of service, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health care company which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to 3.2 million individuals and groups in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. In 2018, CareFirst invested $38 million to improve overall health, and increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of health care throughout its market areas. To learn more about CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, visit our website at www.carefirst.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.