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OSF HealthCare partners with SWITCH, a collaboration platform to address health equity | Illinois

PEORIA, Ill., Oct. 14, 2021 / PRNewswire / – OSF HealthCare is joining SWITCH, a new independent organization created by City Tech Collaborative (City Tech), a Chicago-based urban solutions accelerator, to promote health equity in Promote Chicago. Headquartered in Peoria, Illinois, and operating 15 hospitals in Illinois and Michigan, the healthcare system joins Verizon and the University of Illinois Chicago Innovation Center (UIC) as a partner on the platform that accelerates, innovates and scales technology-enabled solutions.

SWITCH stands for sustainable wellness through innovation, technology and collaborative health. Its mission is to increase health equity and measurably improve community health and wellbeing in Chicago’s most underserved communities. Solutions are developed by engaging residents and patients to ensure they have an active voice in creating solutions; Use a robust Racial Justice and Inclusion (REI) methodology to address inherent biases in existing solution development processes.

As part of the partnership, SWITCH and OSF HealthCare, with the support of UIC Innovation and Verizon, will examine the possibility of expanding and commercializing the OSF CommunityConnect (OCC) software platform to improve access to health care, education and disease prevention in the underserved neighborhoods around the OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park, Illinois and surrounding clinics and doctor’s offices.

OSF has used the OCC platform for its OnCall Connect program to enable digital health workers to care, support and monitor patients who are recovering from surgery or from COVID-19 at home. It is also used as part of the Medicaid Innovation Collaborative to develop solutions that improve access and quality of care for Medicaid patients across the state.

“OSF HealthCare is pleased to be a partner of SWITCH and to leverage the experience gained in developing and deploying the OCC platform and to see if it can be a scalable solution that will be used by every hospital in Illinois that is involved in health equity and the need to provide high quality care to vulnerable populations, “said Dr. John Vozenilek, vice president / chief medical officer, innovation & digital health, OSF HealthCare.

Angela EL Barnes, General Counsel, Director of Legal Affairs & Growth Initiatives at City Tech Collaborative, founded SWITCH and will lead partners’ efforts to improve health access with stakeholders who will directly contribute to determining the best strategy for better health and wellness. Long a long-standing advocate of diversity and justice, Barnes was appointed to the Racial Justice Committee for the Federal Courts of the Northern District of Illinois last year to examine the court’s racial diversity and help identify barriers to the provision of racial justice to all identify.

“The pandemic has only exacerbated what we already know to be true: systematic differences and prejudices create significant barriers to achieving health and well-being for all communities,” said Barnes. “These growing health disparities are even more evident health in Chicago’s BIPOC communities on the south and west sides for all communities to thrive.”

The partnership will also use diverse and talented students at the UIC Innovation Center to support the growth of SWITCH and its solutions.

SWITCH was recently selected to participate in an accelerator program for Health Equity Innovation 2021 to support entrepreneurs with solutions that promote health equity. The challenge of MATTER, the global health care innovation center headquartered in Chicago, and YWCA Metropolitan Chicago focuses on projects such as harnessing data and research to advance health equity, as well as projects to improve access to health care and address social determinants of health (SDOH) among others.

Don Bergh, assistant director of laboratories and teaching programs at the UIC Innovation Center, said the students selected for the accelerator program will be very engaging.

“Our students are innovatively trained and ready to jump into teams and projects that require intelligent, flexible and motivated problem solvers.”

The Accelerator Challenge specifically accepted applicants with the aim of developing and bringing to market a solution that would directly impact SDOH in Chicago’s underrepresented communities. Participants must be affiliated with a Chicagoland organization and colored entrepreneurs were preferred.

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OSF HealthCare is an integrated health care system owned and operated by the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis located in Peoria, Illinois. OSF HealthCare employs nearly 24,000 mission partners in 150 locations, including 15 hospitals – 10 acute care, five critical accesses – with 2,089 licensed beds and two nursing schools in Illinois and Michigan. The doctor network OSF HealthCare employs more than 1,500 general practitioner, specialized and advanced practice providers. OSF HealthCare operates an extensive network of home health and hospice services through OSF Home Care Services. It also owns Pointcore, Inc., comprised of healthcare companies; OSF HealthCare Foundation, the organization’s philanthropic arm; and OSF Ventures, which provides investment capital for promising innovation startups in the healthcare sector. More at

Established in 2016, OSF Innovation is a multidisciplinary innovation center focused on internal and external innovation to solve the biggest challenges in healthcare. More at

City Tech Collaborative (City Tech) is an urban solutions accelerator that addresses problems too big for a single industry or organization to solve on its own. City Tech’s work leverages IoT sensor networks, advanced analytics, and urban design to create scalable, market-ready solutions. Current initiatives address advanced mobility, healthy cities, connected infrastructure and new growth opportunities. City Tech was born and raised in Chicago, and every city is a potential partner. Visit to learn more.

SWITCH stands for Sustainable Wellness through Innovation, Technology & Collaborative Health and is a collaboration platform that accelerates, innovates and scales technology-based solutions. Our mission is to increase health equity and measurably improve health care and wellness outcomes in Chicago’s most underserved communities through collaborative development of solutions. Involving residents and patients to ensure they have an active voice in finding solutions; and using a robust Racial Justice and Inclusion (REI) methodology to address inherent biases in existing solution development processes.

Contact: Colleen Reynolds | Media Relations Coordinator – OSF HealthCare | (309) 825-7255

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