Health startup wins Grand Rapids mobility challenge


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The winner of a public-private challenge designed to engage the public to improve Grand Rapids’ transit infrastructure is an out-of-state health care startup.

City of Grand Rapids officials, along with Ford Motor Company, AT&T, Dell Technologies and Microsoft, named Chicago-based Kaizen Health the winner of the Ford City of Tomorrow Challenge for Grand Rapids last month.

Kaizen Health is a health technology startup working to streamline access to transportation in partnership with providers, payers, self-insured employers and municipalities.

Kaizen Health will receive a $100,000 reward from Ford, the city and its partners to fund a pilot program to test the proposal in a real-world setting.

The startup’s proposal for the City of Tomorrow Challenge aims to eliminate transportation as a barrier to proper medical care by integrating existing services from Lyft, GO!Bus, The Rapid call center and Innova EV’s first- and last-mile vehicles to allow residents to make independent decisions about their mobility options.

Clinical staff would learn about barriers patients face with accessing health care during the initial screening process, according to Kaizen’s proposal. Once deemed eligible for Kaizen Health’s services, a care coordinator would enter the patient’s information into Kaizen’s HIPAA-compliant software and set up rides to and from appointments. Patients could then receive transportation in a vehicle that best fits their health status.

Throughout the challenge, people were encouraged to submit ideas in three key areas: enabling smart transportation choices; extending mobility options; and encouraging walking, biking and busing.

More than 100 proposals were received via the City of Tomorrow Challenge website, and 12 semifinalists were chosen to work with a mentor and local accelerator to further refine their proposals before a winner was selected.

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