COLUMBIA, Maryland—MedStar Health, the largest not-for-profit health system in Maryland and the Washington, D.C. region, has become the newest Founding Member of Project Catalyst|The Power of We. The program gives developers of popular and emerging products insight into how Americans 50-plus use technology, in order to identify ways to improve the devices for mature consumers. By aligning with the country’s preeminent advocacy organization for older Americans, MedStar will help spur innovation in new and emerging digital technologies, products and experiences that can improve the lives of the rapidly growing 50-plus population.

“MedStar is deeply committed to advancing health in order for the members of our communities to live well as they age and have resources that add value to their lives. In joining forces with AARP, and our fellow partners, we are excited by the possibilities to promote healthy aging on a broader scale and to further transform health care in America,” says MedStar President and Chief Executive Officer Kenneth A. Samet, FACHE.

“We are pleased to welcome MedStar Health to Project Catalyst. As a diverse healthcare system with a deep commitment to innovation, including digital health and human factors expertise, MedStar adds a valuable dimension of insight and knowledge from the frontline of patient care,” says AARP Senior Vice President Thought Leadership Jody Holtzman. “With Project Catalyst, AARP and MedStar continue to work toward a shared goal—finding solutions to improve the quality of life for all Americans as they age.”

Operating through the MedStar Institute for Innovation (MI2)—the hub of its innovation ecosystem—MedStar will support independent research and testing of new and emerging products with findings and insights being shared publicly through Project Catalyst to help product developers and businesses better meet the needs of 50-plus consumers.

MedStar joins UnitedHealthcare and Pfizer as Founding Members, and will collaborate with Georgia Tech’s HomeLab, the project’s lead Insight Partner. Project Catalyst’s first study, which was announced in April 2015, is focused on sleep and activity trackers. Results of this study and future areas of focus will be reported in the coming weeks. Future studies are expected to concentrate on some of the nine health frontier areas that are ripe for investment and innovation that can serve the wants and needs of the 50-plus community.

MedStar and AARP initially connected through 1776, a Washington area startup incubator and seed fund, where they are both alliance partners. “The power of networks to spur innovation is leading to novel and breakthrough solutions in health care and other sectors,” says Donna Harris, co-founder of 1776. “We are pleased to have had a role in bringing these two organizations together and are excited about what’s possible through their collaboration.”

MedStar Health is transforming the experience of health care today by building an integrated healthcare delivery system for tomorrow. MedStar is engaged broadly and across a diverse platform that includes:

  • Advanced medicine: Everything from complex cancer care and tumor profiling to innovative, community-based care for frail elders
  • Research:  Among the top 15 percent of recipients of research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Innovation: Through MI2, dedicated to catalyzing a vibrant innovation ecosystem that advances health across the continuum
  • Medical education: The 11th largest Graduate Medical Education (GME) program in the country with 1,070 residents and fellows
  • Insurance products and population health management:  117,000 individuals in Maryland and Washington, D.C., enrolled in MedStar Medicare Choice, a Medicare Advantage plan, and MedStar Family Choice, a Medicaid managed care plan
  • Retail medicine: More than 100,000 annual visits to 10 walk-in urgent care centers with four additional sites under development, making access to care convenient close to home or work