Meet the Finalists: Innovation in Healthcare

This January, Dallas Innovates and D CEO magazine hosted The Innovation Awards 2020, an inaugural event honoring local people and companies in 13 categories.

Dallas Innovates and D CEO magazine teamed up to present The Innovation Awards 2020, a new program honoring companies and leaders—CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, entrepreneurs, and others—driving innovation in North Texas.

Here are the winners and finalists for Innovation in Healthcare.



Blockit was formed in 2016 to provide pro bono care to community clinics. It is now a digital care coordination application that includes 5,000 physicians, 1.2 million patients, and 150,000 monthly appointments. Blockit makes the booking process more efficient and has been adopted by healthcare systems all over the country. The technology has been used to improve referral follow-through rates at a children’s emergency department and to book appointments for athletes with preferred providers following injuries. “The most effective way to drive industry-level innovation is for large organizations to partner with young companies who can move fast and solve problems in nontraditional ways,” says founder Jake McCarley. “As a community we need to support these arrangements with capital, stage-centric guidance, and visibility.” —Will Maddox


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas

Summer Wright-Collins manages 70 team members at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas’ innovation lab, which ranges from designers and strategists to customer service specialists and medical doctors. The renovated incubation space in the West End downtown is meant to find solutions to the increasing healthcare costs that continue to plague the nation. The organization works in interdisciplinary units to serve health plan members and clients, employs a dedicated design team to accelerate innovation, and serves a collaboration space for clients, providers, consultants and academic centers. The lab has formed partnerships with the Dallas Entrepreneur Center and the Dallas Innovation Alliance, was a sponsor of the Dallas Start-Up Week this year. Wright-Collins is a trained epidemiologist who has been in the population health space researching and working with informatics and virtual health. She has served on boards and committees for the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Women’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson foundation. Will Maddox

Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation

Dr. Steve Miff is the CEO and President of the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation, a non-profit early-stage innovation and analytics organization that works in the healthcare space. The organization uses data to connect communities, organizations, and providers to improve health outcomes for everyone. The artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques have worked to prevent unnecessary illness and emergency room visits, often resulting in long hospital stays and large hospital bills. The organization engages families and children to intervene early enough to prevent asthmatic episodes and has worked to reduce costs and complications for high-risk pregnancies. PCCI’s work focuses on upstream needs, addressing the social and economic needs of individuals that have a profound impact on health down the line. They help build risk profiles for patients who need early intervention and allow providers to engage patients in an efficient way, reducing downstream costs to the patient and system as a whole. Will Maddox

UNT Health Science Center

UNT Health Science Center President Dr. Michael Williams is using his hospital CEO outlook to make the school a center of innovation and entrepreneurship. In fiscal year 2019, the center spend $46.8 million in research, and has a growing Research Development and Commercialization team that utilizes a flexible workspace to help the innovations created in the university’s labs become life-saving and ground-breaking treatments for future patients. The center has made innovation and entrepreneurship a priority for everyone on campus. Faculty members, students, and incubation client companies have access entrepreneurial advice from the Entrepreneur-in-Residence program at UNTHSC and the Institute for Translational Research is running a $6.5 million clinical trial for a blood test to provide early detection for Alzheimer’s Disease. In a move that could impact the future of healthcare for generations to come, the school partnered with TCU to welcome the inaugural class at the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine, a new school that takes an innovative and patient-centered at medical education. Will Maddox

UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern’s Kidney Cancer Program is considered a leader in cancer research nationwide, and has partnered with innovators like Peloton Therapeutics, which was recently acquired by Merck for $2 billion. Led by Dr. James Brugarolas, it joins Harvard University as one of only two cancer centers that has been awarded the National Cancer Institute’s Specialized Program of Research Excellence Award, and is on the leading edge of genetic discoveries, immunotherapy science, artificial intelligence and the molecular classification of kidney cancer. The center beats national averages in patient kidney cancer survival, which is one of the top ten diagnosed cancers. Not only does kidney cancer not respond to chemotherapy or conventional radiation, it can spread to any organ or place in the body, which makes the multi-disciplinary approach all that more essential for the program. It unites physicians and researchers doing research in all types of cancer to collaborate and win some of the most significant grant funding at UT Southwestern. The 35 specialists and more than 80 affiliated research labs, the program is one of the largest in the world. Will Maddox

E X P L O R E   M O R E

Click each link below to take a closer look at each finalist in all 13 categories.

CIO/CTO of the Year

Corporate Innovator of the Year

Startup Innovator of the Year

Innovation in Education

Innovation in Energy

Innovation in Finance

Innovation in Food and Beverage

Innovation in Healthcare

Innovation in Manufacturing and Consumer Goods

Innovation in Placemaking

Innovation in Retail

Innovation in Technology

Innovation in Transportation

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