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Fostering pediatric digital health innovation with the Bear Institute PACK event

June 11, 2021

The Bear Institute, a strategic relationship between Children’s National Hospital and Cerner Corporation, is announcing the first annual Bear Institute PACK (Pediatric Accelerator Challenge for Kids), a start-up competition to address the gap in digital health innovation funding dedicated to children.  

In 2020, children’s digital health innovation funding received $118 million compared to the $21.6 billion invested in solutions for the rest of the population. This means a mere 0.7% of digital health innovation funding was dedicated to children. This disparity points to the need for more dedicated innovation in the pediatric space and increased support given to those start-ups trying to bring new solutions to market for kids.  

“Bear Institute PACK is an event for the entire pediatric healthcare community,” says Matt MacVey, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Children’s National Hospital. “It focuses on bringing together entrepreneurs, pediatric healthcare providers and pediatric hospital administrators, and investors from around the country to help close the immense innovation gap in children’s digital health.”  

Top pediatric healthcare start-ups and college student teams can submit innovations focused on the following four innovation tracks: rare disease, patient education, remote patient monitoring and telehealth. These will then showcase their solutions to pediatric hospitals, ambulatory centers, and healthcare professionals around the country. Bear Institute PACK is currently accepting submissions from start-ups and college student teams. 

Participating pediatric healthcare providers and hospital and ambulatory administrators will have the opportunity to review slide decks and video submissions from each start-up and vote for those with the most beneficial solutions for kids and the pediatric healthcare community.  

“The votes from pediatric healthcare providers and hospital administrators will be used to help formulate the event’s finalists,” says Brad Sitler, head of Innovation, Bear Institute for Health Innovation. “The goal of Bear Institute PACK is to engage the entire pediatric community and give them visibility to innovations that could be the solutions their organizations need.”  

With the pediatric community’s involvement in Bear Institute PACK, winning health startups will come closer to bringing new digital health solutions to the pediatric healthcare market and improve the care of kids. Providers and administrators interested in participating can sign-up here

Start-ups who are selected as finalists will then present their innovations to a panel of industry expert judges in a live virtual event on August 26, 2021. A single winner will be selected in each of the event’s four innovation tracks. The start-ups are competing for a rich prize pool, including cash prizes totaling over $100,000, on-site pilots and software development support.  

For more information and to register for Bear Institute PACK as either a start-up participant or pediatric healthcare provider/hospital administrator judge, visit the Bear Institute PACK website.

Media contact: Media | 202-476-4500


The Bear Institute for Health Innovation

Committed to improving care, the Bear Institute is a first-of-its kind pediatric health information technology institute with a vision for a future where children grow to their highest levels of health and potential. The Bear Institute formed in September 2013 as a strategic and transformational partnership between Children’s National Health System and Cerner Corporation.


About Children’s National Hospital

Children’s National Hospital, based in Washington, D.C., celebrates 150 years of pediatric care, research and commitment to community. Volunteers opened the hospital in 1870 with 12 beds for children displaced after the Civil War. Today, 150 years stronger, it is among the nation’s top 10 children’s hospitals. It is ranked No.1 for newborn care for the fourth straight year and ranked in all specialties evaluated by U.S. News & World Report. Children’s National is transforming pediatric medicine for all children. In 2021, the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus will open, the first in the nation dedicated to pediatric research. Children’s National has been designated three times in a row as a Magnet® hospital, demonstrating the highest standards of nursing and patient care delivery. This pediatric academic health system offers expert care through a convenient, community-based primary care network and specialty care locations in the D.C. metropolitan area, including the Maryland and Northern Virginia suburbs. Children’s National is home to the Children’s National Research Institute and Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation and is the nation’s seventh-highest NIH-funded children’s hospital. It is recognized for its expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as a strong voice for children through advocacy at the local, regional and national levels.

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