Patient engagement apps win NYC hackathon

Two apps designed to help patients feel more comfortable during their hospital stay were the winners of a hackathon sponsored by NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

The New York hospital's weekend-long event pitted 17 teams vying for cash prizes in creating apps that would improve the hospital's patient engagement efforts.

The top prize was awarded to "PresbyHangouts," an app that allows hospital patients to connect with other patients with similar interests and play games and communicate through instant messaging or video chat. The app, developed by five people calling themselves the Health Warriors, earned a $50,000 prize.

[See also: Why mHealth marketing matters.]

A second place prize of $25,000 was awarded to "Intermed." Developed by a two-man team called Bogney, the app targets patients who are expressing anxiety or isolation by allowing them to connect with other patients and "mentors" based on interests or their medical condition, connect with family and friends and learn relaxation techniques, such as meditation or listening to calming music.

The third-place winner, earning a $10,000 prize, was awarded to "Presbyterian Plus." Developed by the group Some Team, the app streamlines the check-in process and also establishes a support and reward system for activities like keeping track of medication schedules and showing up for doctor's appointments.

Hospital officials say the apps presented at the InnovateNYP hackathon will be evaluated for possible integration into NewYork-Presbyterian's free myNYP portal, which was launched in 2009 using Microsoft's HealthVault and Amalga technologies. The online patient enables patients to track their health records and coordinate doctors' appointments, among other things.

"We saw a number of creative and well-executed ideas at InnovateNYP, so picking only three winners was extremely difficult," said Aurelia Boyer, the hospital's senior vice president and chief information officer, in a press release. "Our plan now is to reach out to all of the participants with innovative concepts to continue to engage and learn more about how they could potentially help patients at NewYork-Presbyterian."

The apps were judged by a panel that consisted of Boyer; Cyrus Massoumi, founder and CEO of ZocDoc; Mario Schlosser, co-founder and co-CEO of Oscar; Scott Schwaltzberg, part of Google's civic innovation team; and Brad Weinberg, a founding partner of Blueprint Health.

All of the apps can be viewed here.

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