One small step for man, one giant step for healthcare… The X PRIZE Foundation is a philanthropic organization whose mission is “…to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.” They first set their sights on space, challenging privately funded teams to be the first to design, build and successfully launch a spaceship to suborbital heights…on two separate occasions within a two week period. The prize was $10 Million.
The X PRIZE approach spurred groups of the brightest scientists from around the world to create innovative and cost effective approaches while shooting for the stars (and the money). The intellectual advances cannot be measured financially, but the competition leveraged hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment, and helped to create a private space industry, now worth over $1.5 billion.
Teaming up with WellPoint, Inc., a health insurance company, and its foundation, the X PRIZE has turned the focus on innovative approaches to health care. At the present time, the details about a “$10 million or more” competition, designed to generate new ways to address the nation’s health care system challenges, is being worked out.
Here are some of the statements from the press release:
“We believe significant innovation is achieved when companies and individuals are motivated by the chance to compete among their peers to design and implement groundbreaking solutions to the significant challenges facing us,” said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, X PRIZE Foundation chairman and CEO. “After launching competitions for sub-orbital flight, lunar exploration, rapid human genome sequencing and a 100 mpg car, we have decided to tackle a new, immense challenge: America’s health care system. WellPoint and the WellPoint Foundation are the right partners for this venture and we are excited by the prospect of more companies joining our team.”
This unique approach to tackling the nation’s health care system’s challenges drew praise from the business community. “We should look for every opportunity to drive down inefficiencies, to try new things, and to pilot different initiatives and not be afraid to restructure them or retool them as we go along,” said Virginia Proestakes, health benefits program leader for GE. “I think the time is right for innovation and bright, new, imaginative ideas, which is why a health care X PRIZE is so important to us at GE.”
Public policy leaders agreed that this approach could yield substantial results. Former Speaker of the U.S. House and founder of the Center for Health Transformation, Newt Gingrich, said that the proposed approach is “going to generate a whole new generation of conversation. And you’re going to have thousands of people talking among themselves about the fact that the X PRIZE Foundation and the WellPoint companies have come together to fundamentally rethink the financing and payment of health care. That is such a profound application of the prize concept to social public policy that I think it’s a terrific breakthrough.”
“I am pleased to be a part of this WellPoint/X PRIZE health care competition,” said former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley. “I see it as a way for maximizing the involvement of the American people in two of the thorniest problems in health care – payments and delivery. The result of this could positively impact the direction of health care reform in the next decades…”
At this time, WellPoint, the WellPoint Foundation and the X PRIZE Foundation are announcing their intention to collaborate to develop a prize; the actual award amount, competition rules and guidelines are expected to be finalized in early 2009. The X PRIZE Foundation, along with noted experts in the field, will independently lead the competition. WellPoint has agreed to test the viability of selected solutions in its markets.
To understand more about the proposed competition, check out the following YouTube videos, distributed by X Prize: Newt Gingrich talks about a potential Health Care X PRIZE; Dr. Peter H. Diamandis talks about a potential Health Care X PRIZE and WellPoint, Inc.; Angela Braly, President and CEO of WellPoint, talks about the collaboration with the X PRIZE Foundation
Health Care X PRIZE…
Press release: WellPoint, the WellPoint Foundation and the X PRIZE Foundation Collaborate to Advance Revolutionary Ideas to Improve Health Care…