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Dignity, Box Launch Health App Contest

Dignity Health, cloud vendor Box and venture capital firm seek cloud-based app that will encourage patients to take active part in their healthcare. Winner gets $100,000.

5 Tools Connect Patients To Their Healthcare
5 Tools Connect Patients To Their Healthcare
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Dignity Health, Box and the Social+Capital Partnership have announced a developer challenge for creating innovative health applications that engage patients. The contest will require developers to use the Box cloud collaboration platform to build a Web or mobile application that will deliver health information and encourage patients to take a proactive approach to staying healthy.

The winner will receive $100,000, office space for a month and mentorship from Social+Capital Partnership, a venture capital firm. Additionally, the winning application will receive marketing and sales support from Box. Also, Dignity Health, a San Francisco-based, 21-state network that is one of the country's five largest healthcare providers, might pilot the winning application.

Richard Roth, VP of strategic innovation at Dignity Health, told InformationWeek Healthcare that the organization will definitely test the top application if it meets its stringent standards for protecting personal health information (PHI).

Dignity, which has piloted healthcare products from firms such as Airstrip and Propeller Health, would like to find a cloud-based patient-engagement app that goes beyond what is currently available, said Roth. With the products now on the market, he said, "the information is not personalized, it's not usually shareable with friends or caregivers.

[ Patients want more information. Read Patients Like Online Health Records Access, Study Says. ]

"There's a great opportunity to better engage patients and support them in their care. And we're hoping to spur innovation in this area so patients can be fully activated as a member of the care team," he said.

Although Dignity doesn't currently use Box's services, it's evaluating them, Roth said. Box's decision to become HIPAA compliant by signing business associate agreements, he added, was one reason that Dignity decided to work with the vendor on this contest.

Roth said Dignity would develop sample content for the finalists to use in their working prototypes. He said Dignity doesn't plan to form a joint venture with Box to commercialize the winning application, but should the product become successful, Box stands to benefit by providing the cloud platform on which it is built.

Submissions for the app challenge are due by Jan. 10. A panel of judges will select five finalists, which will be announced on Feb. 6. The grand-prize winner will be revealed on March 27.

Among the judges will be Aneesh Chopra, a former U.S. chief technology officer; Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of Box; Ted Maidenberg, general partner, the Social+Capital Partnership; and Roth.

Box recently announced new customers, including SSM Healthcare, Tri-Counties Regional Center, Cyberonics and Safety Management Systems. The company says that hundreds of healthcare organizations are using its platform to store data, coordinate care and aid research.

In addition, Box has taken on 13 new technology partners, among them CareCloud, Informedika, MedXT, Nephosity, Qualaris, HIPPOmsg, Medikly, PicSafe Medi, Shift Alerts, VitalHub, Grand Rounds, PokitDok and Pocket Anatomy.

CareCloud and Dr. Chrono, another Box partner, both imbed Box in their EHRs, noted Missy Krasner, Box's managing director of healthcare and life sciences. A physician with Dr. Chrono on his or her iPad could send test results, clinical notes or some other data on a particular patient to Box, she explained. Then the patient would receive an invitation to open that Box folder and could either download it or forward it to another provider.

One of Box's new partners, Grand Rounds, will also imbed Box and use it to support its telehealth consultations, she said. When a consumer initiates a consultation with a provider, he or she can use Box to forward medical records or prescriptions to that provider so they can quickly see the patient's medical history.

Although that information could be sent from an EHR via Box, the data could also come from a personal health record (PHR). "You don't have to go to an EHR first and upload the information," noted Krasner. "You're doing it right in that Grand Rounds or American Well or Teladoc interface."

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