Summary: CareQuest Innovation Partners and Matter have opened applications for the third Smile Health program, aimed at linking oral and overall health. The program offers a $10,000 stipend, expert mentorship, and ends with a Demo Day in Las Vegas, focusing on accessibility, equity, and integrating oral health with chronic care management.

Key Takeaways:

  • Interdisciplinary Focus: Smile Health emphasizes the integration of oral health with overall healthcare to improve outcomes and accessibility.
  • Support for Innovators: Startups receive a $10,000 stipend and extensive support through mentorship and networking opportunities.
  • New Thematic Tracks: The 2024 program introduces specific tracks to address healthcare disparities and chronic care management.

CareQuest Innovation Partners in partnership with Matter, a healthcare incubator and innovation hub, have announced that applications for the Smile Health program are now open. This accelerator is dedicated to identifying and scaling innovative solutions that bridge the gap between oral health and overall health.

Smile Health Objectives and Statistics

Smile Health is entering its third year with the goal of enhancing equity and accessibility in healthcare. Only 37% of Americans visit both a dentist and a physician within the same year, according to CareQuest, a gap Smile Health aims to close through strategic partnerships and innovation.

Advantages for Startups

The program selects a minimum of five startups annually and provides them with a $10,000 stipend each. These startups participate in a 12-week course that includes expert mentorship and networking opportunities, culminating in a Demo Day at the HTLH Conference in Las Vegas.

New Focus Areas for This Year

For the first time, the program will feature three specific tracks focusing on different aspects of health integration and innovation:

  • Advancing Accessible Health: Tackling accessibility and integration in healthcare.
  • Reducing Health Disparities: Using oral health innovations to address health disparities.
  • Connecting Chronic Care and Oral Health: Integrating chronic condition management with oral health strategies.

“Chronic conditions are a leading driver of healthcare spending in the U.S., and uncovering ways to tackle these conditions in an effective and equitable way is critically important for Cigna Healthcare,” said Cary Sun, DDS, chief dental officer at Cigna Healthcare. “As part of Smile Health, we look forward to collaborating with innovators in the space to prove how a more integrated health care system could improve outcomes while managing costs.”

The application window for the program is open until May 8, 2024.