An online platform to improve outcomes for sick babies by better engaging parents in their care drew first place in the Innovate 4 Healthcare Challenge, a collegiate competition with a goal of radically improving healthcare through new processes that are enabled by innovative IT applications and supported by a sustainable market strategy.
"NeoStream," developed by graduate students in the biomedical informatics department, Stanford University School of Medicine, took first prize at the recent Innovate 4 Healthcare IT Challenge hosted by the Center for Health Information and Decision System (CHIDS) at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business.
“The challenge drew 26 high-quality solutions from a broad range of schools and programs from across the country, and even a few from overseas, to answer the call on how to strengthen patient-provider engagement to improve health outcomes,” said the competition's director P. Kenyon Crowley, MBA, director of health innovation at the UMD Center of Excellence in Health IT Research and associate director of CHIDS. “The solutions were creative and, most importantly, they were derived from multi-disciplinary viewpoints ranging from business and engineering to public health and medicine.”
NeoStream employs a social network approach, similar to Facebook, “to improve communication between caregivers and the parents of babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, with the ultimate goal of improving short- and long-term outcomes for critically ill babies,” said Stanford team member Jon Palma, MD, a physician and neonatal informatics specialist for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford and biomedical informatics student at the university.
The Stanford team, including Hua Fan-Minogue, Ken Jung and Katie Planey, was among eight finalists that presented projects to a judging panel of industry, clinical and government professionals, and academics. Their $20,000 first prize includes a potential venture with challenge co-sponsor Johnson & Johnson Services.
Two runner-up entries each won $5,000, including "So They Can Know," a web application designed by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore graduate students for newly diagnosed patients with sexually transmitted diseases to anonymously alert previous partners; and the team from University of Georgia Terry School of Business, for its "Play Hard, Live Long" game-based software that calculates lifestyle variables to health-related outcomes.
Teams from UMD plus Georgetown, Harvard and Carnegie Mellon Universities rounded out the finalists, including Smith MBA students Akhil Singh and Daniel Tyler whose "OptiMantra Health" entry proposed an application serving and connecting complementary and alternative medicine consumers and providers.