Congratulations to the Winners of the “Ensuring Safe Transitions” Innovation Challenge!

Wil Yu | December 19, 2011

At the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) QualityNet Conference earlier this week, we announced three winning health apps of the “Ensuring Safe Transitions from Hospital to Home” innovation challenge. 

The public health apps challenge, which launched earlier this year under the ONC Investing in Innovation (i2) program, in conjunction with the Partnership for Patients, called for innovative approaches to improving patient safety and facilitating care transitions for patients being discharged from hospitals to their next care setting, including their home, nursing home, or hospice.

Why create an “Ensuring Safe Transitions” Innovation Challenge?

On average, nearly one in five patients discharged from a hospital will be readmitted within 30 days, a large proportion of which could be prevented by improving communications and coordination of care before and after that transition.

Research has shown that empowering patients and caregivers with information and tools to manage the next steps in their care more confidently is an effective way to reduce errors and complications and, in turn, prevent readmissions. In addition to incorporating other data sources and available services, solutions were expected to make use of the discharge checklist made available by CMS.

The Results

By employing an open innovation effort, we were able to engage a wide community of current and new innovators in health IT – and we had amazing results! The challenge’s webpage saw even more traffic than most of the i2 challenges so far, 40 teams expressed interest in the challenge, and we eventually received submissions from 29: Big Yellow Star, Ringful Health, The CURE, Pipette, TeamConnect, Simplify, iBlueButton, PocketMedi, Team Smart Medical Homes, Kinergy Health, Ahier, Brandt and Dastagir, Infield Health, Health Dialog, Vree Health, VoIDSPAN, Team Careticker, ClariDx, Polyglot, Team SmartPHR, Axial Exchange, LodgeNet Healthcare, Carecurve, TouchPointCare, Helthi, the Care Transitions Journal, Integrated Archetype Solutions, U-BeWell Development Team, Medicos Consultants, and BON HealthWatch.

This was an excellent opportunity to encourage private-sector development and community-building around an area of care-delivery crucial to improving health outcomes and lowering cost.  We’re thankful to all those who submitted entries and supported the challenge effort.

The Winning Health Apps

The three winners as chosen by an expert panel of judges… Axial Transition Suite, iBlueButton, and VoIDSPAN were the top submitted solutions, and were awarded prizes of $25,000, $10,000, and $5000, respectively.  Axial Transition Suite also demonstrated its solution at the CMS QualityNet Conference.

Axial Transition Suite – submitted by Matt Maddox and Joanne Rohde of Axial Exchange – is a web-based application that enables information to flow to a patient’s next care setting so that providers have what they need, when they need it, and to engage patients with the information and tools needed to improve their health knowledge and enhance their ownership of after-care responsibilities; it focuses on bridging care-transition gaps between first-responders and hospitals and then at the time of discharge.

The iBlueButton application – submitted by Bettina Experton, Chris Burrow, Randy Ullrich, Philippe Faurie, and Nina Hein of Humetrix – provides patients and caregivers with immediate access to critical personal health information at home and at the point of care. It’s an intuitive mobile app (for mobile phones and tablet computers) that offers automated and secure access, anywhere and anytime, to online health records, discharge instructions, and additional resources; it also allows patients to easily push records from their device to their provider’s.

VoIDSPAN – submitted by Andreas Kogelnik and Kenneth Ng of Flexis – integrates voice, SMS/text, and web technologies into a mobile app designed to help target patients with a high risk of relapse and engage them in their care together with providers, case managers, and caretakers.  VoIDSPAN uses structured inpatient and outpatient data and data from local electronic health records (EHRs) and health information exchanges, and integrates with other available community resources.

Our office will continue to support communication and collaboration around ensuring safe care transitions, as well as open innovation. For additional details on the “Ensuring Safe Transitions from Hospital to Home” challenge, visit or

Again, congratulations to the winners, and thanks so much for the work of all those who entered submissions! In the near future, we will be showcasing the videos and presentations of submitted entries.