Health app takes $50,000 challenge prize

Health app takes $50,000 challenge prize

A new mobile health application that enables individuals to manage their families' health through customized prevention data has been pronounced the grand prize winner of the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)' Mobile App Challenge.

HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Howard K. Koh, MD, named San Carlos-Calif.-based LyfeChannel the winner of the competition, which drew submissions from developers, health professionals and consumers nationwide. LyfeChannel captured the $50,000 grand prize for its myfamily app, which allows each family member to manage his or her health through a single platform.

The app emphasizes preventive care benefits and services covered by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). HHS officials say the goal is to empower individuals to be more engaged in improving and maintaining their family’s health. Users can find customized prevention information and tips for each member of their family, create personal health alerts, and keep track of medical check-ups and vaccinations.

"This app helps put the power of prevention at the fingertips of Americans," said Koh in a press release. "Families can now use preventive care information to make informed, personalized health care decisions right from their smartphone."

The Mobile App Challenge was sponsored by the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and managed in coordination with Health 2.0 and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It challenged developers and health professionals to design a mobile application that makes content customizable and easily accessible for prevention care planning.'s data is drawn from some 1,400 government and non-profit organizations and includes data on clinical preventive services covered under the ACA.  

During the first phase of the challenge, developers worked with end users, via a crowdsourcing platform called Health Tech Hatch, to build a working prototype. More than 160 individuals registered as testers and provided more than 260 comments. Three finalists were selected from 26 submissions to move on to the final phase.

"For the first time during a challenge competition we went to end users during the development of the applications," said Bryan Sivak, HHS' chief technology officer, in a press release. "The use of crowdsourcing and feedback loops provided teams with critical information to develop a more useful application – not just another app – but a piece of technology that fulfills the needs of its users and improves health."