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OSF Ventures companies rise to the challenge of COVID-19

Before the novel coronavirus was even a blip on our radar, OSF HealthCare made a commitment to change health care delivery as we know it. That has meant finding and developing digital and technology solutions to improve access to care, including self-service scheduling through our MyChart app and same-day urgent care appointments.

Then came COVID-19, and we knew we needed to do even more. Thanks to our Innovation Partnerships and Ventures teams, we have access to a number of startup companies that were quick to come up with solutions to help benefit the communities we serve. They also have the ability to work with us in customizing products and services that can have a direct impact on our patients.

This is a testament to how nimble and reactionary the startup company community can be to address emerging problems. Our digital transformation work positioned us to take advantage of some of these opportunities.

The solutions

To slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, OSF HealthCare was quick to develop a Pandemic Digital Response Hub where individuals could call in with questions about the virus and receive a screening over the phone.  At the same time, we worked with the company, Gyant, to enhance the capabilities of Clare, a virtual assistant on the OSF HealthCare website, to screen for COVID-19, offer education about the disease and connect people to our Pandemic Digital Response Hub.

African-American woman using SilverCloud on a tablet.We also worked with CareSignal, one of our portfolio companies, to offer COVID Companion, a free text messaging service that provides state and CDC guidelines about the virus, a symptom tracker and a self-monitoring service for OSF HealthCare Mission Partners (employees).  All of these solutions were deployed to help people stay home at the peak of the virus.

Another portfolio company that worked quickly to offer COVID solutions was SilverCloud, an online tool designed to provide easy and immediate access to digital therapy programs at home. Not only did the business develop a behavioral health program for those struggling mentally during the virus–it also created a program specifically for our front line workers. Access to this tool was integrated into Clare to make it easily accessible to individuals.

As OSF HealthCare implemented the Pandemic Health Worker program to take care of COVID-19 clients at home, we worked with our partner, the GetWellNetwork, to use GetWell Loop. This application offered information to help people take care of themselves, constant access to PHWs and allowed for daily monitoring.

The importance of partnership and investment

A commitment to innovation for OSF HealthCare means we are constantly searching for and finding ways to effectively serve our communities. This is made easier by building relationships with startups through our Innovation Partnerships and Ventures programs.

As a result, we have ongoing and open communication with the leaders of these businesses and frequently share our needs. We, at OSF HealthCare, get attention to problems that can be solved with the extensive research and development efforts of these emerging startups. They, in turn, get to add valuable products and services that can help them get broader market attention and grow their companies.

It’s a good value for both sides. In addition, we don’t have to scramble to source solutions during crisis situations. Our digital response to COVID-19 is a great demonstration of that work.

About Author: Stan Lynall

Stan Lynall, CPA, is the Vice President of Ventures Investments for OSF Ventures, the corporate venture program of OSF HealthCare. In this role, Stan identifies new technology that can positively impact those served by the Ministry. He also manages the diligence and venture investment process and maintains relations with the system’s portfolio investments and syndicate co-investors.

Before that, Stan founded and was the Managing Member of LMA Consulting, LLC, providing merger and acquisition services to private businesses. He also co-founded Central Illinois Angels, a nonprofit entity that provides early-stage investment opportunities for accredited angel investors. Stan is an honors graduate of the University of Illinois where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy. He is a Certified Public Accountant and is also a 2005 graduate of RSM’s Business Advisor Program conducted by the University of Chicago-Graduate School of Business.

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Categories: COVID-19, Innovation