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Florida Healthcare Innovation Competition seeks next generation of health ideas

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TAMPA, FL—(March 29, 2016) - An invention that converts body heat to power for medical devices. A pressure-sensitive implantable pump that helps treat eye diseases. A detachable, self-cleansing mouth mirror.

While these might sound like something straight out of the sick bay in Star Trek, these are all real inventions designed to be big solutions for big needs in the healthcare industry - and, they're inventions by college students in Florida.

On Wednesday, April 6, college student innovators from across the state will share their ideas for revolutionizing the quality and delivery of healthcare at the fifth annual State of Florida Healthcare Innovation Pitch Competition — and they may receive a chance to make those ideas reality. Winning student presentations will receive cash prizes of $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second, and $2,500 for third.

Florida students from eight universities and colleges - selected from more than 30 applicants across the state - will pitch their ideas for innovations in healthcare and present working prototypes, final products or services currently in place to judges at the University of South Florida USF Connect Oak View Room, 3702 Spectrum Blvd., Tampa, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Florida BlueThe National Academy of Inventors and the USF Center for Entrepreneurship are partnering to promote this innovative program to encourage early-stage healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship in the state of Florida.

"USF is the ideal place to host such a statewide competition, with our interdisciplinary Center for Entrepreneurship and our Student Innovation Incubator fostering creativity and business acumen," said Moez Limayem, dean of the USF Muma College of Business. "This competition is yet another example of USF's commitment to developing student entrepreneurship, this time in the in-demand field of healthcare. We cannot find a better partner for this endeavor than Florida Blue, who is outstanding in supporting student success throughout Florida."

"Florida Blue is committed to being a leading innovator in enabling healthy communities. It is part of our framework and guides every aspect of our business," Florida Blue Market President David Pizzo said. "The students competing in the Florida Healthcare Competition are the future of health care, and their ideas can help transform how people and communities receive and experience health care in the future. We're proud to support this competition and eager to hear how these innovative minds are reimagining health."

Chris Hillier from GuideWell Innovation, Florida Blue's sister company providing incubation, acceleration and commercialization for health care entrepreneurs and start-ups, will be on the panel that will evaluate the presentations, along with local business professionals, judges from the National Academy of Inventors, and USF faculty.

In addition to the $10,000 cash prize, GuideWell Innovation will provide the winner of the Florida Healthcare Innovation Competition with a one-year Executive Membership to the GuideWell Innovation CoRE (Collaborative Resource Ecosystem) valued at $2499, providing the winner with assistance turning ideas into health solutions, the ability to collaborate with innovation leaders, co-working space in the GuideWell UST Global Innovation Center, advance market intelligence and access to exclusive research and development insights.

"The students will have to be laser-focused on what's new and different about the innovation, identify a solution for solving a problem in healthcare, and articulate how this new innovation will positively impact the quality and delivery of healthcare," said Michael Fountain, director of the USF Center for Entrepreneurship.

The student presenters come from USF, the University of Florida, the University of Central Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University, Rollins College, Nova Southeastern, the University of Miami, and the Florida Institute of Technology.

Their pitches will include:

  • An invention that converts body heat to power medical devices;
  • A 3D-modeling tool that helps physicians and patients in the diagnostic process;
  • A decorative cover for inhalers;
  • A low-cost scanner that can help fit prosthetic hands;
  • A system designed to eliminate unnecessary tasks from documentation, coding and communication efforts in healthcare;
  • An app that allows for faster and more accurate diagnosis or prognosis for outpatient recovery;
  • An app that allows patients to video chat with pharmacists;
  • A detachable, self-cleansing mouth mirror that improves indirect vision;
  • An algorithm-based solution to detect the progression of eye disease;
  • A motion-activated system that promotes good hygiene;
  • A monitor that measures hemoglobin levels and red blood cell counts;
  • A specialized babysitting service that provides specially trained sitters for children with Type 1 diabetes;
  • A wellness event organizer for hospitals;
  • A pressure-sensitive implantable pump that helps with diseases of the eye;
  • And a new technology for improved drug research and discovery.

The Center for Entrepreneurship is a nationally ranked, interdisciplinary center, and is part of the USF Muma College of Business, in collaboration with the USF College of Engineering, the Morsani College of Medicine, and the Patel School of Global Sustainability.