KinergyHealth.com, McLean, Va., a developer of a Web portal for care coordination used by clinicians and family members, was named the $25,000 first-prize winner of the Patient Engagement Blue Button Challenge, a competition sponsored by The Advisory Board Co. The company had already won $5,000 as a finalist in the contest.
“What we do, really, is we're focused on letting patients interact with the healthcare system to save them time and money,” said Gail Embt, company CEO and founder. “The Blue Button is a wonderful capability because we think the patient needs to know what information is out there about them and have the ability to control it.”
Humetrix, a San Diego-based developer of various mobile information applications, was the winner of the $45,000 first prize for the competition sponsored by HHS called the Blue Button Mash Up i2 Challenge.
The Humetrix Blue Button application “provides an intuitive, patient-centered, secure two-way mobile 'consumer mediated exchange' solution, where patients become the 'mobile connectors' to their Blue Button and other health records anytime and anywhere. The app includes new features such as patient-optimized and physician-optimized displays and dashboards, medication look-up and new export functions,” HHS said.
A Humetrix official was unavailable for comment at deadline.
Aneesh Chopra, former White House chief technology officer, now a senior adviser for technology strategy at the Advisory Board, said Blue Button was evolving beyond its original capability when it was launched by the VA in fall 2010. Initially, Blue Button was created as a way to afford patients machine- and human-readable copies of their medical records in the plain text ASCII format.
Since then, the technology has been adopted by the Defense Department, Social Security Administration and private health insurers Aetna and UnitedHealth Group. By the end of this year, 60 million Americans will be able to access and copy their records via Blue Button technology, Chopra said.
As its users grow, the Blue Button concept will expand beyond its original ASCII format and come to mean multiple formats and forms of record sharing in which the patient has control, with the potential for becoming the dominant method for health information exchange, Chopra said. “It's not clear to me that the patient-mediated or consumer-mediated model might not be the best model going forward,” he said.
Also at the Health 2.0 conference, HHS announced Pinaxis, a developer of several mobile healthcare applications, was the $60,000 first-prize winner of the EHR Accessibility Module Challenge, which aimed to foster development of an application that would make it easier for people with disabilities to access and interact with the health data stored in their EHRs.