The award recognizes entrepreneurs who are excelling in areas such as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities, while also transforming our world.

Ernst & Young (EY) announced that Warner Thomas, President and CEO of Ochsner Health System, Louisiana's largest non-profit, academic healthcare system, received the Entrepreneur of The Year® 2019 Award in the Healthcare & Related Services category for the Gulf Coast Area.

The award recognizes entrepreneurs who are excelling in areas such as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities, while also transforming our world. Thomas was selected by an independent panel of judges, and the award was presented at a special gala event on June 21 at the Marriott Marquis Houston.

With emerging technology and the shift to healthcare consumerism, Ochsner created an innovation lab, innovationOchsner, or iO, which functions like a start-up that is embedded within the organization. With different goals and an operating structure to really embody an entrepreneurial culture, iO focuses on solving some of healthcare's most pressing problems. It creates new value by using technology and data to deliver personalized, patient-centered solutions to empower people to live their healthiest, best lives.

Whether it's tackling chronic disease through digital medicine programs or utilizing artificial intelligence to deploy a predictive model that augments existing early warning signs to proactively eliminate adverse events in advance of a potential event in real time, iO and Ochsner remain committed to innovations that improve quality, access and convenience with extraordinary results.

"Ochsner is a growing organization that has been an entrepreneur in building new innovations and technologies that are changing the way we are delivering healthcare. This would not be possible without the amazing people who drive this every single day," said Thomas. "We are proud to place New Orleans and Louisiana on the map for digital health through iO and will continue to work hard to change the lives of those across the country."

Since 1986, EY has honored entrepreneurs whose ingenuity, spirit of innovation and discipline have driven their companies’ success, transformed their industries and made a positive impact on their communities. Now in its 33rd year, the program has honored the inspirational leadership of such entrepreneurs as:

---Howard Schultz of Starbucks Corporation

---Pierre Omidyar of eBay, Inc.

---James Park of Fitbit

---Kendra Scott of Kendra Scott LLC

---Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn

---Hamdi Ulukaya of Chobani

---J.W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr. of Marriott International, Inc.

As a Gulf Coast Area award winner, Thomas is now eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur of The Year 2019 National Awards. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the Entrepreneur of The Year National Overall Award winner, will be announced at the Entrepreneur of The Year National Awards gala in Palm Springs, California, on November 16, 2019. The awards are the culminating event of the Strategic Growth Forum®, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.

Contributed by Ochsner Health System