ONC Awards $300K in Funding to 6 Small Businesses for Digital Health Pilot Projects

Adam Wong | May 11, 2015

Coming on the heels of National Small Business Week is the announcement of the six winners of ONC’s inaugural Market R&D Pilot Challenge? The six winners will live-test new health information technology (health IT) applications in health care settings administered by their challenge partners beginning in August.

Innovation in the U.S. health care system requires not only action from the largest private stakeholders and appropriate involvement by federal and state governments, but also the entry of new businesses that disrupt the status quo by focusing on the most important stakeholder of all – the patient. However, 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. 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.

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. 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.

The winning teams are:

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

Three in-person matchmaking events were held in January, 2015, focused on connecting the small innovator companies looking to pilot test their products with potential partner organizations. More than 300 of these meetings were held at these “speed-dating” events, organized and facilitated by Health 2.0, allowing startups to meet face-to-face with industry stakeholders to identify common interests and goals and receive valuable exposure.

About the Winners

ClinicalBox and Lowell General Hospital. ClinicalBox develops software for coordination and patient engagement across the surgical care continuum. Their technology, CoordinationBox, tracks patients through the care delivery pipeline and visualizes critical tasks that need to be completed for the health care provider. It facilitates communication with the patient 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.