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Health Tech Hatch Assists in Blue Button Challenge

June 7, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Health Tech Hatch (Hatch), a resource for entrepreneurs who create innovative health and wellness products and companies, has announced it will operate as the user testing platform for the Blue Button Patient Co-Design Challenge, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) newest challenge effort which seeks to amplify the voices of patients with stories to tell and problems to solve through improved access to their health data.

The Challenge will also uniquely engage the patient community to teach what patients most want to do with their clinical data by crowdsourcing application ideas and incorporating patients in product design.

Blue Button Plus represents the technical standards and policy levers that help patients make use of their clinical and financial data in technology such as personal health records and health apps. All patients whose providers use meaningful use Stage 2 certified technology have the ability to view, download, and securely transmit their clinical data from their provider’s electronic health record (EHR) into another product or holding place of their choice. In January, ONC introduced the Blue Button Plus as a way to push the initiative forward.

Intended to increase the number of priority patient-facing applications able to receive clinical data via Blue Button Plus, the Challenge allows site visitors to vote for the highest priority problems and types of products they think will help them best take care of themselves and their families. The top three ideas/problems will become the target products for this Challenge.

“Supporting innovations that will actually be used by people to improve health is a shared mission among Hatch and HHS/ONC, and is the inspiration behind Hatch's testing platform,” Patricia Salber, CEO of Health Tech Hatch, said in a statement. “What is so great about this project is the way real patient engagement is built in, starting with crowdsourcing the ideas for the Challenge to having the developers post their concepts on Health Tech Hatch so that patients can iteratively interact with the developers in a codesign process, and vote. It’s the first time such an extensive involvement of patients in the development of apps/tools has taken place.”

Over the summer, developers from across the country will build patient-prioritized tools using the Blue Button Plus technical guidelines, which ensure that patients may move their own health data from a provider’s electronic health record or a patient’s own personal health record into these new products in a secure and structured way.  Developers will receive codesign support from real patients through the Health Tech Hatch platform. In August, participants will vote again for the winner. Prizes will also be awarded for the best open source developer tools that make it easier for future applications to become Blue Button Plus enabled. Total prize money is $50,000.

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