With partnership, comes power — the power to imagine and develop sustainable, lasting change to solve the world’s most complex problems. Partnerships and collaboration are key ingredients to address the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this spirit, SAP is joining forces once again with longtime partner PYXERA Global, as well as the Medtronic Foundation, Becton, Dickinson, and Company (BD), and Celanese to “Reimagine Community Health Systems.”

The challenge brings together employees from four Fortune 500 companies who will compete in multi-company teams to identify ways to integrate telehealth into services provided by community health centers (CHCs). CHCs provide healthcare access to approximately 30 million Americans across the U.S., many of whom lack health insurance, are underinsured, or are otherwise medically underserved.

COVID-19 has exposed several vulnerabilities for these underserved communities. One such example that is exacerbated by the pandemic is continued access to preventive care, critical health screenings, and ongoing medical care for chronic conditions due to fears of coronavirus transmission. Furthermore, the digital divide and limited digital literacy make virtual doctor visits that are available elsewhere more challenging.

The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) is playing its role to direct the “Reimagining Community Health Systems” challenge as a co-anchor partner along with the Iowa Primary Care Association. Through this challenge, NACHC will be better equipped to respond to the unique needs of the clinics that reach these communities in a quickly changing landscape.

The scope of NACHC’s challenge will involve developing a telehealth business plan for CHCs across the country, with an emphasis on including community stakeholders who can help determine the role the umbrella organization can play in making telehealth more widely available. The scope of the Iowa Primary Care Association challenge will be to develop a step-by-step framework to roll out telehealth to the organization’s network of 13 CHCs and one migrant health program.

Diversity of background, cultures, and experiences is a key driving force for innovation. That is why experienced employees from these innovative companies are coming together to find practical, scalable, and sustainable solutions for the communities that rely on CHCs for their healthcare.

SAP is proud to have 12 employees from who countries bringing their expertise and diverse skillsets to address the challenges that lie ahead. SAP employees will partner with employees from Medtronic, among the world’s largest medical technology, services, and solutions companies, alleviating pain, restoring health, and extending life for millions of people around the world; BD, another leading global medical technology company; and Celanese, a global chemical and specialty materials company.

The challenge kicked off in July, with teams collaborating virtually throughout August. As anchor partners, NACHC and the Iowa Primary Care Association will oversee different portions of the competition. Judging will be based on innovation, social impact, sustainability, desirability, feasibility, and viability. The winning solution will be announced in early September, followed by the pilot phase for implementing the selected recommendations for the anchor partners.

We look forward to delivering new ideas to the market supporting the communities that need it most. Reimaging healthcare is just the beginning. Join us to contribute to scalable solutions and develop a framework for the future.

To learn more, read the press release from PYXERA Global: Global Leaders in Technology and Design Compete to Bring Telehealth to Underserved Areas.

Hemang Desai is global program director for SAP Corporate Social Responsibility.