Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Box and Dignity Health Name WelVU Patient Education App Challenge Winner

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Last week, we hosted our final judging event for the Box and Dignity Health Patient Education App Challenge at Box headquarters where a winner was selected. The winner of the challenge, who received a $100,000 convertible note from the The Social+Capital Partnership, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, is WelVU, a cloud-based patient engagement platform that allows educational content to be prescribed by a physician to a patient. Cirrus Health also received an honorable mention for most innovative patient education use case for its personalized patient video discharge summary.

The Challenge
Since we get a ton of questions from our hospital customers about patient engagement – specifically, how Box can be used to help educate patients about their diagnosis or disease – we wanted to hold an app challenge to explore the patient education use case. So, we partnered with Dignity Health, one of the nation’s five largest health systems and The Social+Capital Partnership and launched the challenge last fall. After receiving more than 150 applications, we narrowed it down to five semi-finalists.

The final leg of the challenge came last week when the semi-finalist teams presented to a panel of prominent judges, including: Aneesh Chopra, former CTO of the United States under President Obama, Rich Roth, VP of Strategic Innovation at Dignity Health, and Ted Maidenberg, Partner at The Social+Capital Partnership. The presentations were super interesting and included disease-based mobile apps, like LyfeChannel, which helps change patient behavior at the moment of influence and GenieMD, which allows patients to aggregate their medical records via Blue Button Plus and Project Direct. We even had one finalist, WellBe, demo a tool that guides patients through high impact surgeries from the point of decision, pre-admission, hospital stay, and discharge.

What We Learned
Everyone is trying to figure out a way to get patients to pay attention to their health status and change behavior. And patient education is a core piece of that puzzle. If you’re building a healthcare app in this space, here are some things to consider:

  • Personalize content to the patient. Generic content provides adequate information, but it does not engage a patient as much as content that addresses their exact set of problems and conditions.
  • Providers are viewed as the most trusted source. Content is trusted the most when it comes from a treating doctor or nurse educator. It also will get more views if patients have the option to send questions to their care teams via secure messaging.
  • Get to the point. You only have a two to four minute window to get the patient’s attention. Utilize native mobile apps, SMS texting, IVR voice calling, web and video. Make content engaging and interesting with videos and multi-media.
  • Develop your solution with the daily workflow in mind. Working into the daily provider workflow is critical. Think about creating both a provider and patient dashboard. Content is really not the key issue. The biggest problem is that physicians and their staff do not have a good mechanism to deliver and personalize content.
  • Align incentives. You cannot get patients engaged if their doctors are not incentivized to monitor patients. Longer term, patient education needs to be a billable event for doctors.
  • Be clear about who your customer is. Know who you’re selling to and develop your product with the end user in mind – physicians, office staff, discharge nurses or patients – but be aware of who is ultimately paying for your solution.

We want to congratulate all five semi-finalists for an impressive round of solutions developed on the Box APIs. We look forward to working with these solutions as we continue to develop our Box OneCloud platform for healthcare apps.