6 digital startups score ONC cash

Pilots focused on consumer engagement, care coordination
By Bernie Monegain
10:17 AM
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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT announced Thursday the six winners of its inaugural Market R&D Pilot Challenge. ONC awarded a total of $300,000 in funding for the projects.

The winners will test their new health IT apps in healthcare settings, beginning in August.

"The ONC Market R&D Pilot Challenge breaks down the barriers between promising start ups and health care stakeholders by helping early-stage health IT companies connect with health care organizations that would host pilot programs," Adam Wong, ONC management and program analyst, writes in his May 11 blog. "The innovative technologies developed by these companies are integral to improving consumer engagement and care coordination, which ultimately lead to greater demand for interoperability and health data liquidity."

[See also: Bright future ahead for digital startups.]

The winning teams are:

  • ClinicalBox and Lowell General Hospital
  • CreateIT Healthcare Solutions and MHP Salud
  • Gecko Health Innovations and Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Optima Integrated Health and University of California, San Francisco, Cardiology Division
  • physIQ and Henry Ford Health System
  • Vital Care Telehealth Services and Dominican Sisters Family Health Service

ONC received applications from 78 host-innovator teams across the country. Most of the proposed pilots focused on technological tools to help with care coordination, patient generated health data, medication management, and/or underserved communities, Wong wrote. The submissions all demonstrated the awareness and readiness of innovative companies to incentivize consumers to play a more active role in their own care.

[See also: 5 digital trends to watch in 2015.]

More on the winners:

  • ClinicalBox and Lowell General Hospital –  ClinicalBox develops software for coordination and patient engagement across the surgical care continuum. Its technology, CoordinationBox, tracks patients through the care delivery pipeline and visualizes critical tasks that need to be completed for the healthcare provider. It facilitates communication with the patients and provides them with a visual overview of the stages in their episode of care, as well as task lists and educational materials. The pilot with Lowell General Hospital will test CoordinationBox’s efficacy in coordinating care and engaging patients during surgical episodes.
  • CreateIT Healthcare Solutions and MHP Salud. CreateIT Healthcare Solutions’ MyCare Communicator is a patient engagement platform used to engage a culturally, economically, and technologically diverse patient population. The platform allows healthcare providers to deliver educational materials and clinically relevant messages to patients in their native language via email, SMS, and automated voice. MHP Salud will pilot the MyCare Communicator in the Texas Rio Grande Valley to enhance the impact of its Community Health Worker programming in the areas of diabetes prevention and breastfeeding.
  • Gecko Health Innovations and Boston Children’s Hospital. Gecko Health Innovations’ CareTRx uses medication sensors, mobile apps, and cloud computing to improve respiratory disease management and provide relief for asthma patients. The technology records medication use, sends reminders, tracks symptoms, and shares reports with care coordinators. In partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital, the pilot will evaluate the effectiveness of CareTRx on asthma self-management among urban school children compared to traditional self-management practices.
  • Optima Integrated Health and University of California, San Francisco, Cardiology Division. Optima-for-Blood Pressure (Optima4BP) is a cloud-based artificial intelligence solution that evaluates hypertensive patients’ real-time status in order to provide personalized decision recommendations for medication treatment changes. Optima4BP analyzes a variety of data to calculate the percentage improvement of potential treatment changes over the current treatment. Hosted by UCSF’s Cardiology Division and integrating with its EMR, the pilot will evaluate the efficacy of Optima4BP in improving care coordination for patients with uncontrolled hypertension.
  • physIQ and Henry Ford Health System. physIQ has developed an analytics platform that transforms sensor-generated biodata into clinically meaningful and personalized physiological insight. The solution couples machine learning physiology analytics with disposable wearables that capture and transmit bio-signal data in order to reduce hospital readmissions associated with exacerbations of chronic conditions. The pilot with Henry Ford Health System will evaluate physIQ’s platform’s ability to reduce hospital readmissions for heart failure and COPD patients and quantify changes in outcomes, operational efficiency and ROI for the care delivery organization.
  • Vital Care Telehealth Services and Dominican Sisters Family Health Service. The Senior Total Population Assisted Telehealth Services (STATS) program, created by Vital Care Telehealth Services, connects populations of seniors at the community level to preventative care and chronic disease management programs. The pilot project will test STATS’ efficacy in increasing access to primary and secondary prevention services on the Shinnecock Indian Health Services Clinic located on the reservation on eastern Long Island.