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

For more information contact:
Kelly Cannon
W: 816.395.3711, C: 816.686-3842

KANSAS CITY, MO. (May 8, 2019) —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 (UMKC) announced the first and second place winners of the 2019 Blue KC Healthcare Innovation Prize, DeepLens and Bionic Bowel.

  • The first place prize was awarded to DeepLens, a team that is inventing a headset with a built-in camera, microphone and speaker to support individuals with vision impairments and loss perform daily activities. DeepLens helps these individuals become more independent by connecting their device to the person’s surrounding environment. Individuals can interact with the smart device through voice commands, such as “read text,” which will allow the device to narrate signs and text in front of the individual. For instance, the device will read a restaurant menu using the camera and speaker features. The team received a $20,000 prize.
  • The second place prize was awarded to Bionic Bowel, a team that is inventing a new medication in the treatment of Crohn’s Disease which is currently impacting 780,000 Americans. The pill developed by the Bionic Bowel team will treat the causes and symptoms of Crohn’s Disease by normalizing a person’s pH levels in their intestinal track and neutralizing acids. The team received a $10,000 prize.

The Blue KC Healthcare Innovation Prize first launched in 2018 in collaboration with UMKC to promote creativity and innovation in the Kansas City community and provide real-world opportunities to healthcare students. The contest seeks ventures that can improve the patient/member experience through care delivery innovation, digital health capabilities, tools/devices/apps, or other advancements that positively impact the value proposition.

In 2018, first place was awarded to Bodyguard ID, a temporary cosmetic ink that could be applied to a patient’s forearm or hand in place of a medical bracelet. 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. The BodyGuard ID team used the prize money to secure their patent and continue making improvements to their product.

Blue KC looks forward to continued collaboration with UMKC’s Bloch School of Management in awarding projects that demonstrate value proposition, market feasibility, financial feasibility, and most importantly a positive impact to patients and consumers.

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

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City
The University of Missouri-Kansas City, one of four University of Missouri universities, is a public university serving more than 16,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on its six-part mission: placing student success at the center; leading in life and health sciences; advancing urban engagement; excelling in visual and performing arts; embracing diversity; and promoting research and economic development. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, see us on Instagram and watch us on YouTube.