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This is the inaugural release of FORTUNE’s Most Innovative list shining a spotlight on the top companies in the U.S. that have made the biggest impact in innovation.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., – FORTUNE has named UNC Health one of “America’s Most Innovative Companies.” This is the inaugural release of FORTUNE’s Most Innovative list shining a spotlight on the top companies in the U.S. that have made the biggest impact in innovation.

In partnership with leading data company Statista, FORTUNE is honoring entrepreneurial innovation which manifests itself at different levels.

FORTUNE conducted a survey among innovation experts, HR executives, and employees to determine America’s Most Innovative Companies. More than 10,000 eligible companies were evaluated for the FORTUNE list through assessment of innovation dimensions including:

  • Product innovation (Innovations in R&D, production, sales and marketing)
  • Process innovation(Innovations in the areas of production/operations, strategy, planning, controlling and quality assurance)
  • Innovation culture (Primarily includes the introduction of a corporate culture that promotes creativity and entrepreneurial spirit)

“Well known for innovation propelled by its groundbreaking research and discovery stemming from its rich heritage as a distinguished academic medical center, UNC Health also leverages its culture of innovation to transform care delivery and improve the health of North Carolinians through adoption of new technologies and solutions,” said Carol Lewis, vice president of UNC Health Enterprises. Lewis oversees the UNC Center for Health Innovation where she directs innovation across UNC Health and the UNC School of Medicine. Her team develops programs to cultivate an innovative culture while also building and managing a diverse portfolio of innovative initiatives. “UNC Health teammates work hard to find and promote innovations that enhance patient care and experience, improve access, reduce health disparities and increase operational efficiency.”

UNC Health’s innovative and award-winning hospital at home program has served over 875 patients with inpatient care in the comfort of their own homes while achieving better outcomes than a tradition hospital setting including lower rates of hospital acquired infections and mortality. Patient care is overseen by a multi-disciplinary care team supported by a 24/7 command center and a rapid response service network. Ninety-seven percent of surveyed patients say they would recommend the hospital at home program.

UNC Health has expanded digital services available in the UNC Health App, used by 45,000 active users. In the app patients can see wait times at UNC Health urgent care centers, schedule virtual and in person appointments, access virtual care on demand, navigate to UNC Health locations, and get out of pocket cost estimates. UNC Health provided over 190,000 virtual visits last year. To further meet consumer preferences, a robust bi-directional text messaging platform was implemented. Via text, patients can link directly to online scheduling of appointments from a physician referral and quickly confirm or cancel upcoming appointments. Patients with a scheduled appointment automatically receive text messages when earlier appointments become available, resulting in a 33-day improvement in appointment wait time for over 40,000 patients to date. Foundry CIO named UNC Health a 2023 winner of its prestigious CIO 100 award for innovations in business technology.

In July 2022, UNC Health launched virtual telepsychiatry consults connecting emergency room physicians in UNC Health’s community hospitals to UNC Psychiatrists in Chapel Hill to help manage the growing number of patients seeking behavioral health services in North Carolina’s rural communities. More than 750 virtual behavioral health consults have been provided for adults, adolescents, and children at UNC Health emergency departments at UNC Health Rockingham, Caldwell, Blue Ridge, Chatham and Lenoir hospitals.

There are many other areas driving innovation within UNC Health. UNC Health’s Enterprise Analytics and Data Sciences team has developed more than a dozen AI solutions in use today. UNC Health Alliance, UNC Health’s Accountable Care Organization, leveraged analytics and novel interventions to reduce health disparities in hypertension, diabetes management and colorectal cancer screening between white and Black, Indigenous, and people of color populations. UNC Health Enterprises has funded 34 Innovation Pilot Awards over the last 10 years and is investing in new business opportunities including a recently launched PBM for employers and plans to develop a portfolio of health and wellness apps.


About UNC Health

UNC Health is a state entity and an affiliated enterprise of the University of North Carolina system, comprised of 15 hospitals, 19 hospital campuses and more than 900 clinics along with the clinical patient care programs of the UNC School of Medicine (SOM). It exists to improve the health and well-being of North Carolinians and others we serve and to further the teaching mission of the University of North Carolina SOM. Over the past three years, UNC Health has provided more than $400 million in uncompensated or charity care to the citizens of North Carolina. Our hospitals have received numerous awards and recognition for quality care, patient safety and the overall patient experience. For more information, please visit