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State-Wide Innovation Program Names Finalists, Sets Showcase Event

State-Wide Innovation Program Names Finalists, Sets Showcase Event
NXTSTAGE Pilot Competition equips Kansas communities with innovative tools to address community health and economic growth challenges

Wichita, Kan. – May 16, 2022 – NXTUS, Inc.’s 2022 NXTSTAGE Community Health & Vibrancy Pilot Competition, presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS), today announced 12 program finalists.

The competition, which attracted 119 competitors from 28 states and seven countries, is also supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

“Kansas communities experience a wide variety of challenges ensuring equitable access to health and the drivers of health — things like social isolation, economic stability, nutrition insecurity and more,” said Virginia Barnes, Blue Health Initiatives director at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. “We’re thrilled to have these companies and their technologies identified to help us make Kansas a healthier place to live, work and play.”

NXTUS, Inc. partnered with BCBSKS and NetWork Kansas to identify statewide partners looking for innovative solutions to their community health and growth challenges. Returning 2021 pilot partners Hodgeman County Economic Development, Scott County Development Committee, and Thrive Allen County were joined for 2022 by Healthy Bourbon County Action Team, Inc., LiveWell Northwest Kansas, and Russell Hospital.

These partners will select competition winners and announce pilot projects at an Innovation Showcase on Wednesday, June 22 from 3:30 – 5:30 at Mark Arts. To attend the event, register via EventBrite.

“By pairing future-minded community organizations and innovative entrepreneurs, we’re changing Kansas for the better,” said Mary Beth Jarvis, NXTUS executive director. “If we help startups thrive here, Kansas can grow as a proving ground for technologies that can improve our population health and unlock growth potential in rural and urban areas.”

The 12 finalists hail from nine states, with three based in Kansas and another from Kansas City, Mo. The program attracted very diverse competitors: 94 percent of applicants had minority and/or female founders. Of the finalists, 100 percent have ethnic minority or females as founders.

Six projects stemmed from the 2021 program, which was also presented by BCBSKS. These were focused on rural access to health care and mental health treatment, improving quality of life for seniors, and management of diabetes and other chronic conditions. The 2022 finalist group offers technology tools focused on some of these same issues, as well as others.

Here are the 2022 NXSTAGE Community Health & Vibrancy Finalists:

Akesa Health offers a guided self-therapy that helps users transform distress into resilience using their cell phones.
Caregivers Insight empowers caregivers to alter daily care using easy-to-understand graphs of one’s changing health condition. Better Insights. Better Care.
Debtle: Every year, 70 million Americans experience difficulty paying for their healthcare. Debtle’s cloud-based software automates the negotiation, settlement and payment of overdue medical bills.
Embrace Prevention Care provides value-based care via an integrated suite of Medicare-reimbursed services to help older adults take actions to stay healthy & out of the hospital, and independently age in place.
▪ With Kadogo, individuals can give others’ money away while saving on taxes. The app makes it simple to fill a Giving Account with outside funds, like charitable donations matched by employers and brands.
▪  PursueCare provides comprehensive telemedicine treatment for addiction & mental health issues through a smartphone app. The company partners with health systems and community resources to rapidly get patients into virtual treatment, reducing overuse of high-cost in-patient & ER visits.
▪  Ringorang, by Knowledge as a Service, is clinically proven software that ensures people form lasting habits through microlearning and repetition, helping companies and communities achieve and measure real-time results from education campaigns or training initiatives.
▪  Small Bites Adventure Club helps teachers and community programs promote healthy eating and a love of fresh fruits and vegetables via online materials and a subscription for activity kits.
▪  SoulFIRE Health, a program of 5th Dimension Strategies, presents evidence-based healthy nutrition and activities content, targeting communities and health coaches working with persons with chronic disease.
▪  SpairTime is a community-focused marketplace designed to improve the discovery process of local microbusinesses and facilitate purchases of their products and services.
▪  Televeda alleviates social isolation and loneliness by helping community-based organizations efficiently and effectively reach, engage and track the mental wellbeing of their members via virtual/hybrid programs.
▪  Vincere offers a smoking (and vaping) cessation program accessible to lower-income residents that provides instant rewards and coaching that intercepts smokers earlier in their quitting journey.

NXTUS, Inc helps entrepreneurs grow companies of significance. The organization works to connect startup founders with community resources, capital and customers. NXTUS manages NXTSTAGE programs, which are aimed at connecting startups to mature businesses and regional partners looking to become customers for their innovative technologies and to help accelerate the pace of innovation in the region, as well as Accelerate Venture Partners, a fast-growing regional Angel investor syndicate.

For more than 80 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas has built a reputation of trust with its members and contracting providers by providing outstanding customer service while quickly and accurately processing claims; fairly administering benefit plans and contracts; offering programs, services and tools to help members improve or maintain their health; and operating under the highest ethical standards while being good stewards of premium dollars. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and is the state’s largest insurer, serving all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte. For more information, visit bcbsks.com. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. NXTUS and the NXTSTAGE Community Health and Vibrancy Competition are not affiliated with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas.

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