Blue KC Healthcare Innovation Prize First and Second place winners exemplify patient-focused care and the future of healthcare delivery

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Kelly Cannon

KANSAS CITY, MO. (May 8, 2018) — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) in partnership with the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri – Kansas City announced today the first and second place winners of the inaugural Blue KC Healthcare Innovation Prize, BodyGuard ID and Exodus Biosciences.

  • First place has been awarded to team BodyGuard ID, comprised of Dr. Paul Allen, Dr. Scott Olitksy and Adam Johnson of The University of Missouri – Kansas City. Dr. Allen and Dr. Olitksy are both doctors at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. Their innovation focused on solving for the fact that medical errors are responsible for 10 percent of U.S. deaths every year. Currently, medical ID bracelets are one key way patients are identified so that errors don’t occur. The team proposed BodyGuard ID, a temporary cosmetic ink that could be applied to a patient’s forearm or hand in place of a medical bracelet. The ID works like a QR code or bar code and improves on the current medical ID bracelet concept. Instead of a bracelet, which can be torn off or become lost, a cosmetic image is applied to the patient in a quick and painless application that lasts 3-5 days. The image, which could also be customized to be inspiring or reassuring to the patient (like an inspirational quote or favorite superhero character) can then be removed with alcohol. This provides a more reliable and secure form of patient ID than current bracelets and is also environmentally friendly – saving more than 715 million bracelet IDs from being printed annually.
  • In second place, team members Danny Griffin and Bailey Banach of The University of Kansas, also known as Exodus Biosciences, created the autoimmunity index for multiple sclerosis (aiMS) – a test that would give accurate, timely diagnosis for multiple sclerosis (MS) detection. This detection works by testing biomarkers in a patient’s blood, ultimately allowing for identification of the disease earlier and at a lower cost than through existing methods. Given that a cure does not yet exist, early identification of the disease allows for earlier treatment, slowing the progression of symptoms. Exodus Biosciences’ presentation indicated that 400,000 people in the U.S. are currently affected by MS and about 200 new cases are identified each week.

The winners were chosen for their healthcare-related ventures which inspire change in the healthcare space and address the needs of the people who matter most: patients. The first-place winners received a $15,000 prize and the second-place winners received a $10,000 prize. The Blue KC Healthcare Innovation Prize was launched as part of this year’s Regnier Venture Creation Challenge, hosted by the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University of Missouri – Kansas City Bloch School of Management.

“We were overwhelmed with the real-world thinking and promise of each of the entries,” said Jason Spacek, Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer at Blue KC. “The winning teams epitomize the patient-focused care and innovative thinking we at Blue KC are hoping to inspire.”

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, the largest not-for-profit health insurer in Missouri and the only not-for-profit commercial health insurer in Kansas City, has been part of the Kansas City community since 1938. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City provides health coverage services to more than one million residents in the greater Kansas City area, including Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas and 30 counties in Northwest Missouri. Our mission: to use our role as the area’s leading health insurer to provide affordable access to health care and to improve the health of our members. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information on the company, visit its website at