Verizon CEO Launches Innovation Contest, Outlines Health Care Strategy

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam outlined ways health care IT can tackle society's challenges, along with awards of $1 million to do so using the company's technology.

Verizon Communications is sponsoring a contest that will award $10 million to developers to create innovative health care, education and sustainability applications using Verizon's mobile, video and cloud technology.

Lowell McAdam, Verizon's CEO, announced the contest during his keynote address Jan. 8 at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Called the Powerful Answers Award, the prize could motivate people in part to bring reform to the health care industry. Individual companies could get an award of up to $1 million.

"We challenge the technology industry to come up with innovative applications, devices and solutions that take advantage of our converged mobile, video and cloud platforms to drive positive social change," said McAdam.

An independent panel of experts will judge the contest submissions, he said.

The submissions must include a summary of the idea or product, an explanation of the problem being solved, a "high-level" business plan along with a discussion of the global impact of the product and how it uses Verizon's wireless and wireline network capabilities.

Verizon will help bring the ideas to market "and make sure we do the maximum amount of good in the shortest amount of time," said McAdam.

The company will announce the details of the formal submission process later in the first quarter and introduce the winners at CES 2014.

"The reach and power of our converged mobile, video and cloud networks make them an unparalleled platform for delivering social innovations on a big, big scale," said McAdam. "What we need now is for the best minds in the technology industry to figure out how to tap their capabilities to change the world for the better."

Using its networks to improve health care quality and education as well as boost energy efficiency is part of Verizon's "Shared Success" strategy, the company reported.

In addition to the contest, McAdam also discussed how Verizon's June 2012 acquisition of Hughes Telematics will bring the company's cloud-based services to automobiles and merge the car with customers' home security, social networks, calendars and wallets.

Verizon will also grow Hughes' telematic capabilities to innovate in remote health monitoring as wireless medical devices connect to the cloud, a form of machine-to-machine (M2M) technology.

In addition, McAdam discussed how a connected health ecosystem could address runaway health spending. "In this country alone, we spend $3 trillion a year on health care, and it's rising at more than 5 percent a year," said McAdam.

Verizon is working with the FDA to receive clearance on its mobile-health platform, which could allow clinicians and patients to manage chronic diseases, he said.

On Oct. 1 Verizon launched cloud services that enable health care providers to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The services include collocation, Managed Hosting, Enterprise Cloud, Enterprise Cloud Express Edition and Enterprise Cloud Private Edition.

Verizon's mobile health platform and cloud platform will enable patients, doctors and insurance companies to exchange and share medical records securely using mobile devices, said McAdam.

In another development, McAdam noted that Verizon provided the connectivity for HealthSpot's new telehealth Station, unveiled Jan. 8 at CES. The walk-in kiosk provides a virtual examining room to hold a video conference with a doctor, share medical records and capture vital signs with medical devices.

McAdam also mentioned an initiative with the William J. Clinton Foundation and General Electric called Clinton Health Matters. Announced in November, the project will deploy technology to promote healthy lifestyles in the United States, lower health care costs associated with preventable diseases and reduce health disparities in targeted areas.

The first project for Clinton Health Matters is in Coachella Valley, Calif., said McAdam. He noted that 25 percent of adults and 70 percent of children live in poverty in Coachella Valley.

"We already have people on the ground in Coachella to figure out how to deploy practical solutions that will address these disparities," said McAdam. "Our objective is to make these communities into a working laboratory for creating the health care solutions of the future."

In another initiative, Verizon is working with a company called Qi to create a radiology platform for the cloud, said McAdam. For the project, two-dimensional images will be enhanced with software, so doctors can see a heart beating in 3D, he said.

Doctors could also use the platform with Qi to track the growth of a tumor over time, said McAdam.