Health Systems Innovation Lab joins forces with Sling Health to tackle systemic health care issues

The BJC HealthCare/Washington University School of Medicine Health Systems Innovation Lab is joining forces with Sling Health to foster innovations in health care delivery and create new mentorship opportunities for entrepreneurial students.

Sling Health, formerly IDEA Labs, is a student-run biotechnology accelerator with the dual aim of developing student entrepreneurs and successful businesses that can revolutionize medicine.

Weaving together the innovation lab’s resources and mentorship with Sling Health’s interdisciplinary student innovators and educational program, the two organizations will provide new opportunities for students and physicians to imagine and implement innovations in health care delivery, quality and efficiency.

“While Sling Health has historically tackled problems drawn directly from clinicians, leading to exciting device and digital health innovations, this new partnership will enable student entrepreneurs to take a step farther and address larger, systemwide problems in health care delivery,” said Kavon Javaherian, Sling Health president.

The focus will be on further inspiring innovation in the lab’s key strategic areas of:

  • Utilizing personalized health data to optimally inform care.
  • Moving care delivery closer to where patients live, work and play.
  • Harnessing community data to better support community health.
  • Engaging patients in shared decision-making and longitudinal health behaviors.

The Health Systems Innovation Lab will provide Sling Health with insight and access to innovation opportunities in BJC/WUSM communities that speak to these strategic areas. Sling Health teams will use these insights to form project teams and design care delivery innovations targeting these opportunities. During Sling’s nine-month incubation cycle, the lab will afford teams targeting these problems with specialized mentorship to help them develop their ideas and companies. At the completion of the incubation cycle, promising innovations will be reviewed by the lab for further development.

“One of the greatest resources that our community has is its bright, motivated students seeking to make a positive difference in the health and health care of our patients,” said Thomas Maddox, MD, director of the Health Systems Innovation Lab and a professor of medicine at the School of Medicine. “The lab looks forward to supporting the efforts of Sling Health to harness the talents of these students to develop novel ways of delivering health care.”

A key resource Sling Health offers its teams is a window into a physician's day-to-day practice and the barriers they face to properly deliver care, said Aadit Shah, Sling Health vice president. “Through this collaboration, we hope to provide teams with not only the perspective of clinicians but that of large health care systems," Shah said.

Sling Health’s first event in fall 2018 will be Problem Day, when team formation occurs from 6-8 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center on the Washington University Medical Campus. Contact Sling Health at for more information.