Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Presents the Faces of Fearless Healthcare Innovation Award
BCBSA and Not Impossible Labs recognize smartphone-based applications that help overcome opioid use disorder and support people with autism

CHICAGO, Dec. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) announced today that smartphone-based virtual reality applications that help overcome opioid use disorder and support people with autism will receive the Faces of FearlessSM Healthcare Innovation Award. As part of the 2018 Not Impossible Awards show being held on Jan. 11 at CES® 2018 (Consumer Electronic Show) in Las Vegas, the Faces of FearlessSM Healthcare Innovation Award recognizes technological innovation that advances health and wellness. The award exemplifies the values of the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Faces of Fearless campaign, which celebrates the stories of people who are overcoming challenges to live their healthiest lives.

The submissions, named VR-Project Δ (Delta) and VR-Qualis Est Vita (Quality of Life), are being developed by Dr. Patrick Bordnick, dean and professor from the Tulane School of Social Work. VR-Project Δ will put patients into realistic virtual worlds using smartphone-based virtual reality, recreating situations that identify and trigger cravings akin to drug and alcohol addiction. This tool allows for individualized patient diagnostics and aids in treatment by teaching coping mechanisms to avoid relapse. The other application, VR-Qualis Est Vita, uses virtual reality to help people with autism develop interpersonal skills.

"The Faces of FearlessSM campaign is our commitment to celebrating people who are overcoming challenges to live their healthiest lives," said Scott Serota, president and CEO of BCBSA.  "Substance use disorder is an epidemic reaching every corner of our country and dramatically impacting our nation's health. BCBS companies continue to look for innovative ways to address this crisis and we are proud to partner with Not Impossible Labs to present the Healthcare Innovation Award to Dr. Bordnick."

"I am truly humbled and grateful to receive this award," said Dr. Patrick Bordnick. "This recognition and support will make VR-Project Delta a reality after 15 years of work and will support my passion to develop effective interventions for substance abuse and make a significant impact in improving the lives of millions. Addiction is an extremely complex problem that involves both biological and behavioral elements. VR-Project Delta will offer a tool to help patients' daily lives. Additional products will leverage our work to develop effective methods to teach social skills to people with autism.  The goal will be to make these products accessible to everyone to improve quality of life and empower long-term change."

Members of the Not Impossible Awards' Class of 2018 will receive mentorship and resources to incubate and accelerate their work through participation in strategic partnerships across the Not Impossible network, which is comprised of leaders from across a diverse range of industries and backgrounds.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Indexsm. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out our blog.

Launched in 2009, Not Impossible Labs (NI) crowd-solves issues of inability and inaccessibility through Technology for the Sake of Humanity and provide low-cost solutions that allow the most vulnerable among us to survive and thrive. Not Impossible Labs disrupts the status quo through a cycle of collaboration and impactful innovation paired with Help One, Help Many storytelling.

Not Impossible's initiatives each identify an absurdity in our modern world and then dedicate to making a difference for those impacted with a promise to Commit… Then Figure It Out. Through listening and deep discovery, Not Impossible develops a bold intention to address this absurdity and take ambitious action steps to make real impact in order to Make the Impossible, Not Impossible.

Not Impossible Labs has numerous initiatives, both in-development and active, that address absurdities ranging from hunger to educational inequity to degenerative disease and beyond. Initiatives to-date have included:

  • The Eyewriter - Open source, low-cost, DIY devices that enable individuals with paralysis to communicate and create using only the movement of their eyes.
  • Project Daniel & DOAP (The Department of Accessible Prosthetics) - Radically accessible prosthetics, from labs in the South Sudan allowing communities to 3D-print custom prostheses to low-cost kits allowing for access and customization of prostheses without electricity.
  • Music: Not Impossible - A wireless ecosystem including hardware, software and wearables that creates a vibrational interpretation of musical, auditory, or programmable rhythms and cues across the skin. Created to allow the deaf and hard of hearing to experience live music with no discernable latency, Not Impossible Labs has identified broad applications of this technology, from creative and artistic undertakings to medical technology that can augment the abilities of those with sensory disorders.

Not Impossible Labs has been awarded Cannes Lions, CLIO Awards, SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards, Telly Awards, and numerous other honors for both technology and creative work.

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SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association

For further information: Robert Elfinger, (312) 297-5899,