Pushing the envelope in the healthcare industry is one of my favorite topics to talk about; combined with today’s startup culture, there are many opportunities to creative positive change with technology. Lately, three healthcare startups have been in the news. They are making headlines because of their innovative ideas and outside-the-box thinking. As an innovative executive and visionary leader, I admire their work.

Ascension partners with Silicon Valley startup accelerator” via St. Louis Business Journal

Ascension, the nation’s largest nonprofit health care system, is partnering with Silicon Valley startup accelerator Plug and Play Tech Center. As a company that offers 12-week industry-specific training programs, Plug and Play will serve as a mentor to Ascension and will educate the company about new opportunities available in the healthcare realm. Plug and Play already worked with startup companies like Soundhound, PayPal, and Dropbox, so they are no strangers to companies and entrepreneurs who are looking to turn their potential into concrete success.

“Plug and Play Tech Center offers us a method of spotting innovation in healthcare and wellness to solve problems and meet evolving consumer needs,” said Jim Beckmann, COO of Ascension. “We know the future of healthcare lies in offering greater value and in empowering consumers, and teaming with Plug and Play gives us another tool in the toolbox to achieve that goal.”

A Start-Up Suggests a Fix to the Health Care Morass” via The New York Times

For decades, a sick child meant you had to call out from work to take your child to a doctor — if you were lucky to schedule an appointment for same day. However, the Affordable Care Act created several incentives for start-ups to change how patients navigate healthcare. Take for example Oscar, which uses data mining to create an improved health service to its users with ease.

Oscar utilizes advances in smartphone technology to its advantage. Instead of picking up the phone to schedule an in-person appointment, patients submit their symptoms and schedule a phone consultation with a doctor via a smartphone app. Within minutes, a doctor calls back with a diagnosis and a prescription, which can be picked up at a local pharmacy

“Pickerington School District Selects Castlight Health Platform”  via PR Newswire

Starting this school year, Pickerington Local School District in central Ohio will offer its teachers and employees a new healthcare platform to improve health benefits and patient experience. Called Castlight Health, the company offers enterprise healthcare technology plans to other businesses, which allows employees to compare healthcare providers across a variety of metrics to easily compare pricing and quality of various plans.

After securing 181 million in funding last year, the company continues to grow with their business-to-business model. Today, Castlight partners with over 240 businesses — 75 of which are listed on the Fortune 500 — that improve healthcare outcomes, lower costs and increase benefits satisfaction for millions of people.