An online platform to improve outcomes for sick babies by better engaging parents in their care drew first place last Friday in the Innovate 4 Healthcare Challenge, a collegiate competition based on radically improving healthcare through new processes that are enabled by innovative information technology applications and supported by a sustainable market strategy.
"NeoStream," developed by graduate students in the Biomedical Informatics Department in the Stanford University School of Medicine, captured top-prize at the recent Innovate 4 Healthcare IT Challenge hosted by Center for Health Information and Decision Systems (CHIDS) at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business.
"The challenge drew 26 high-quality solutions from a broad range of schools and programs from across the country, and even a few from overseas, to answer the call to how to strengthen patient-provider engagement to improve health outcomes," said the competition's director Kenyon Crowley, Director of Health Innovation at the UMD Center of Excellence in Health IT Research and associate director of CHIDS. "The solutions were creative and most importantly, they were derived from multi-disciplinary viewpoints ranging from business and engineering to public health and medicine.”
NeoStream employs a social network approach, similar to Facebook, "to improve communication between caregivers and the parents of babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, with the ultimate goal of improving short and long term outcomes for critically ill babies," said Stanford team member Jon Palma, a physician and neonatal informatics specialist for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford and biomedical informatics student at the university.
The Stanford team, that also included Hua Fan-Minogue, Ken Jung and Katie Planey, was among eight finalists that presented projects to a judging panel of industry, clinical, and government professionals, and academics, on April 20 at the Smith School's center in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington D.C. Their $20,000 first prize includes a potential venture with challenge co-sponsor Johnson & Johnson Services Inc. "We're excited about winning the competition, and the opportunity to work with Johnson and Johnson to further our idea," said Palma.
A pair of runner-up entries each netted $5,000, including "So They Can Know," a Web application designed by Johns Hopkins University graduate students for newly diagnosed STD patients to anonymously alert previous partners; and the University of Georgia Terry School of Business team for its "Play Hard, Live Long" game-based software that calculates lifestyle variables to health-related outcomes.
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