ONC names winners in pressure ulcer app challenge

Three mHealth apps that help nurses assess the risk of pressure ulcers and reduce their severity have been named winners of a challenge sponsored by the Office of National Coordinator for Health IT.

The winners of the ONC's Mobilizing Data for Pressure Ulcer Prevention Challenge were announced on July 17 at the Summer Institute of Nursing Informatics by Judy Murphy, RN, the ONC's deputy national coordinator for programs and policy. The top three app developers were awarded cash prizes of $60,000, $15,000 and $5,000, respectively.

In a recent blog, Murphy said the contest was designed to "inspire the creation of mobile applications that would support nurses and their patients’ healthcare teams to reduce the incidence and severity of pressure ulcers, as well as to aid in pressure ulcer prevention." A secondary goal of the competition, she said, was to encourage the use of standards for information exchange and promote the integration of nursing content into the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT).

More than 2.5 million people each year are affected by pressure ulcers, or so-called "skin breakdowns" that cause pain, carry an increased risk of infection and require healthcare services, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. While guidelines exist to help nurses and other caregivers prevent, detect and treat these ulcers, the information is not often easily available at the point of care.

"Development of a mobile health application (app) for iPhone, iPad or Android devices that implements standards for documenting and exchanging health information about pressure ulcers will facilitate meaningful information exchange and improve the patient experience and coordination of care across the healthcare continuum while reducing healthcare costs," ONC officials said in literature outlining the app challenge. "A mobile health app would support nurses, in partnership with patients, families, caregivers and the multidisciplinary healthcare team, to reduce the incidence and severity of pressure ulcers."

The applications were judged by a panel that included representatives from the ONC, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Kaiser Permanente and Aurora Health Care. Murphy said the apps were judged on criteria that included design and usability, adherence to National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) guidelines and use of the HL7 Pressure Ulcer Prevention Domain Analysis Model.

The contest's winner is the WoundMAP Pump, an iOS application developed by MobileHealthWare that features an image capture and wound measurement system and charts wound progression through such information as dimension, skin color, temperature and moisture.

The second-place winner is the Ulcercare app developed by Dermtap, which uses a proprietary platform to integrate with electronic health records and other third-party apps and sensors.

Third place was awarded to the Wound Mender app developed by IOSTREAM, which allows both nurses and patients to view and share information on pressure risk assessment.

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