Skip to main content

Tampa General Turns to Crowdsourcing for Cancer Care Innovation

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  
   November 29, 2023

The health system is seeking new ideas and technologies that can help improve cancer diagnosis and treatment in rural areas.

Tampa General Hospital is looking for innovative ideas to help improve cancer care in rural communities.

The hospital, through its TGH Innoventures venture capital and innovation arm, and its Cancer Institute are partnering with the non-profit Synapse Florida on the Innovation Challenge, which “encourages individuals and organizations to propose innovative solutions that address the significant need for cancer care where it otherwise may not exist.” Submissions are due by January 20, 2024.

[Listen to the podcast: Talking Innovation Strategy With Tampa General CEO John Couris.]

Health systems and hospitals across the country have been turning to crowdsourcing in recent years to tackle vexing healthcare issues, with the idea that innovation doesn’t have to come from within the healthcare space. Some of the industry’s biggest disruptors, like Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft, are approaching healthcare with ideas and lessons learned from retail, hospitality, banking, and other industries.

Several health systems have launched their own innovation centers, often fueled by venture capital, to promote new ideas and technologies from within and in collaboration with the surrounding community. The health system can then test and fine-tune those products within the enterprise before marketing them through a new business line.

“Hosting an innovation challenge is a strategic move for any business seeking fresh, creative solutions,” Lauren Prager, CEO of Synapse Florida, said in a press release issued by TGH. “Through these challenges, organizations like Tampa General are establishing a direct channel for new ideas by engaging with innovators beyond their immediate sphere. This approach is particularly effective as it draws from a diverse pool of contributors, including those from outside the healthcare industry, such as patients, caregivers and businesses from varied sectors. Large organizations can significantly benefit from this open exchange, as it not only drives innovation but also strengthens community ties, fostering a culture of collaboration and inspiration.”

In this case, TGH officials say they want to target not only lack of access to cancer care services in Florida, but care for the estimated 46 million Americans living in rural areas, where lack of resources and higher risk factors are contributing to higher cancer and mortality rates.

“While we are working to increase access to world-class care across Florida, we recognize there are some challenges we face that require system disruption,” John Couris, president and CEO of Tampa General, said in the press release. “Through TGH Innoventures and in partnership with Synapse, we’re working to incentivize innovation so that we can transform care delivery. With this challenge, we invite experts, entrepreneurs and critical thinkers to offer up solutions that have the potential to have a real, meaningful impact.”

[See also: The Exec: Rachel Feinman Gets Picky With Healthcare Innovation.]

“The Innovation Challenge is illustrative of the work we do at TGH Innoventures, assisting Tampa General’s stakeholders in solving big problems in healthcare by looking outside the four walls of the organization,” added Rachel Feinman, the health system’s vice president of Innovation and managing director of TGH Innoventures. “By fostering partnerships and supporting projects, we can advance cancer care across Florida.”

Eric Wicklund is the associate content manager and senior editor for Innovation, Technology, and Pharma for HealthLeaders.


Some 46 million Americans live in rural areas, where a lack of resources and increased risk factors are boosting cancer and mortality rates.

Health systems across the country are creating their own innovation centers and launching challenges to seek out new ideas and technologies to improve healthcare access and delivery.

Healthcare executives need to understand that some of the best ideas for improving care and delivery may come from outside the industry, and that most of the biggest disruptors are coming into healthcare with different perspectives.

Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.