ONC awards innovators in Discharge Challenge


The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) in collaboration with the Partnership for Patients announced the winners of its Discharge Follow-Up Appointment Challenge on June 5 at the Health Data Initiative Forum III in Washington, D.C.

The event was part of the third annual “Datapalooza” focusing on innovative applications and services that harness the power of open data from the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and other sources.

HHS, along with the Institute of Medicine and other members of the Health Data Consortium were co-hosts for the program. The event featured more than 100 new or updated solutions, up from 45 solutions last year, that help serve the needs of consumers, health care providers, employers, public health leaders and policy makers.

ONC focused its portion of the program on electronic solutions for patient discharge. The agency has led national competitions toward the creation of easy-to-use, web-based tools that help patients schedule follow-up appointments after being discharged from a hospital stay. ONC selected the following entrants as award recipients:

  • First place: MyHealthDIRECT, a web-based solution that enables patients and caregivers to search for, book, and confirm appointments and includes reminder and transportation reservation functionality.
  • Second place: HePak, a tool that integrates appointment-making and reminder functions into its hospital, provider and patient portals.
  • Third place: mHealthCoach, a tool that provides calendar syncing and incorporates educational content and HHS data feeds.

ONC also announced the Blue Button Mash-Up Challenge in conjunction with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The challenge builds on the VA’s existing Blue Button feature, which allows patients to download their health information and share it with health care providers, caregivers and others.  The challenge requires the development of a tool that will help individuals to use their health information, combined with other types of information, such as cost data or comparative health data, to better understand their own health status and make more informed decisions regarding their healthcare.

The submission period for the Blue Button Challenge ends Sept. 5, 2012.