OSF Innovation Partnership Team

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match

There are many great products and services being developed to transform the health care industry.  Quite frankly, it’s difficult to sort through them all, let alone find the ones that might be the best fit for OSF HealthCare. That’s why our OSF Innovation Partnerships team works with incubators and accelerators, among many others, to connect with startups that have the potential to improve patient outcomes, enhance patient experience and reduce the cost of health care.

As a result, we gain access to fledgling companies early, so we can help shape their products to meet the specific needs of our organization or for our patients. In return, these businesses get a better understanding of how to scale their products across large hospital systems. Our latest partnership with MassChallenge HealthTech, an accelerator out of Boston takes this concept a little further.

Instead of having just startups pitch their ideas to possible users, we, as health care providers and others in the industry are also required to present what we can offer to these companies. The process ends with MassChallenge matching us to a company that’s willing to build a meaningful relationship with OSF HealthCare.


OSF Innnovation partners As a one of many Champions of MassChallenge HealthTech, we submit our top challenges to the accelerator. MassChallenge then makes a request for proposals from digital health startups across the country based on these strategic initiatives. Applicants are vetted through a rigorous process that determines the readiness of the company’s solution. Selected participants then have to pitch to a panel of judges or Champion partners through MassChallenge HealthTech’s matchmaking process.

According to the accelerator, matchmaking is a series of in-person judging activities that narrows down the semi-finalists to a select number of startups that will make it into a MassChallenge HealthTech cohort. The first meeting opportunity is much like a speeding-dating session where Champions make rounds to various startups to learn more about them and their products.

Champions move on to viewing presentations from startups, have the chance to ask questions and then provide scores and feedback to each of the startups. Champions then provide offers to the companies they’d like to work with the most. This could include offering to help startups with co-development opportunities, product validations, strategic investments, customer connections or advisor introductions.

Based on scores and feedback from startups, MassChallenge matches startups with Champions and the two will work together to solve key challenges in health care over the next six months. Selected startups also receive free co-working space and the opportunity to win cash prizes.

Gaining experience

We are in our second year of partnership with MassChallenge. Our first year we were introduced to a number of other companies that we’ve decided to make connections with for future projects.

This year, we heard from a lot of promising technologies. We look forward to sharing more about our selected partner in the future.

About Author: Robert Jennetten

Robert Jennetten, MSW, is the Director of Innovation Partnerships for OSF HealthCare. In this role, he focuses on building strong commercial partnerships that will impact costs and clinical outcomes as well as patient and employee experience. Rob works with early stage companies, and industry leaders, on product development, testing, piloting, research and implementation within OSF HealthCare.

Rob joined OSF HealthCare in 1999 in the social services department. This work led into a decade-long career in Performance Improvement including as a Six Sigma Black Belt and the Director of Change Management at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center.

He has also held positions as the Director of both the Standardized Patient and Usability Services Programs at the Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center. Rob holds a B.S. in Biology and Psychology from St. Ambrose University and an MSW from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Categories: Innovation