The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has announced six winners of its inaugural Market R&D Pilot Challenge, designed to help startups connect with healthcare organizations to evaluate their technologies in real-world care environments.

ONC awarded $300,000 to six innovator-host teams: 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; physIQ and Henry Ford Health System; and Vital Care Telehealth Services and Dominican Sisters Family Health Service.

Also See: ONC Challenge Seeks to Pair Health Innovators with Host Sites

“Startups can have difficulty finding partners in real-life care settings where they can test their products and learn how they are used by actual customers,” writes Adam Wong, management and program analyst at ONC, in a May 11 blog. “Without this evidence base, developers will not uncover how they need to modify their technologies in order to provide the best value, which will lead to adoption by consumers and success in the marketplace.”

However, starting in August, the six winners of the Market R&D Pilot Challenge will live-test new health IT apps in healthcare settings administered by their challenge hosts.

One of the winners is ClinicalBox, a software developer for patient coordination engagement. Its CoordinationBox tracks patients through the care delivery pipeline and visualizes tasks that need to be completed by the provider, facilitating communication with patients and providing 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.

Another winner is CreateIT Healthcare Solutions’ MyCare Communicator, a patient engagement platform that enables 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.

Boston Children’s Hospital will test Gecko Health Innovations’ CareTRx product. It uses medication sensors, mobile apps, and cloud computing to improve respiratory disease management and provide relief for asthma patients. The technology, which records medication use, sends reminders, tracks symptoms, and shares reports with care coordinators, will evaluate asthma self-management among urban school children compared to traditional self-management practices.

High blood pressure is the target of another winning pilot. University of California’s San Francisco cardiology division will test Optima Integrated Health’s Optima-for-Blood Pressure (Optima4BP) product. It is a cloud-based artificial intelligence platform that evaluates hypertensive patients’ real-time status and provides personalized recommendations for medication treatment changes. The university will integrate the technology with its electronic health records system and evaluate the efficacy of Optima4BP in improving care coordination for patients with uncontrolled hypertension.

For its part, physIQ has developed an analytics platform that transforms sensor-generated biodata into clinically meaningful and personalized physiological insight, coupling machine learning physiology analytics with disposable wearables that capture and transmit bio-signal data to reduce hospital readmissions associated with chronic conditions. The pilot with Henry Ford Health System will evaluate the technology’s ability to reduce readmissions for heart failure and COPD patients, as well as quantify changes in outcomes, operational efficiency and ROI for the care delivery organization.

The final winner is the Senior Total Population Assisted Telehealth Services (STATS) program—created by Vital Care Telehealth Services. It is designed to connect 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 at the Shinnecock Indian Health Services Clinic in eastern Long Island.

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