Some Pretty Cool Health IT Featured at NYeC's Patient Shark Tank Contest

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Hearts pounding, five contestants face a panel of judges. Each has a great tech idea. Each hopes to walk away with the prize. But to win, they have to prove their health IT tool is the most innovative from a patient’s perspective. Welcome to Patient Shark Tank. (And you thought the New York eHealth Collaborative [NYeC] Digital Health Conference 2014 couldn’t get this fun.)

Patient Shark Tank, modeled after the popular ABC show, is a trending event reflecting the healthcare industry’s push to put patients at the center of healthcare. Keeping people well—rather than waiting until they get sick—is the byword nowadays. Cultivating that spirit, Patient Shark Tank lets innovators show off what they’ve designed and get feedback from patients to make their ideas even better.

The NYeC Patient Shark Tank, which took place Tuesday afternoon, attracted a great lineup. Five competing companies pitched apps ranging from a medical translator tool for providers, which works in up to 15 languages, to Google Glass-powered video capture that lets patients record every important conversation with their provider.

Each company had a chance to pitch their idea to a panel of patients. The panel asked questions to assess how well the product met patient needs. Then each product received a score, based on a standard scorecard together created by patients and providers.

Want a chance to sit in the judge’s seat? Here’s a mini description of each product. Read on to see if you would have chosen the same winner(s) as the panel did in the NYeC edition of Patient Shark Tank.

Canopy Medical Translator

Created by Canopy Apps, the Canopy Medical Translator helps doctors hold medical conversations with patients in up to 15 languages. Doctors can scroll down to the type of exam discussion they’re having, and the app generates standard clinical questions to get the answers they need. Doctors choose the question they want to ask, and with a tap of a finger, the question’s spoken in the patient’s language. (The virtual voice doesn’t sound robotic.) If the doctor needs an interpreter right away, he or she can dial one through the app. With the app, doctors can communicate with patients in their language to deliver better care, faster.

BoardRounds

BoardRounds, which is free for emergency providers, is an app that orchestrates follow-up care for patients. To make sure patients don’t end up back in the ER, providers need to set up follow-up appointments or services, like home care. The app asks providers what a patient needs, then schedules the necessary appointments and services. It confirms with patients when a step’s been completed, like filling a prescription or going in for a specialist appointment. Providers can use the app to track patients’ progress and make sure patients complete the follow-up care plan.

Nutrify

My personal favorite because I love food, Nutrify’s an app that lets patients plan their meals around their health conditions, allergies, food/drug interactions, and budget. The app generates recipes as well as full meal plans and ideas for grocery shopping. Patients can even get advice about which restaurants are best for their health needs. The app’s uniqueness lies in the fact that it doesn’t just rely on calorie counts. It looks at what the food has in it, from natural chemical compounds to vitamins to minerals. (The meals, by the way, look delicious.)

Clear Health Costs

In the pursuit of transparency, Clear Health Costs has set up a space for patients to compare costs of medical services. Knowing how much providers charge—and it does vary widely even in the same city—lets patients make smart decisions about where to go for the healthcare they need. Right now, Clear Health Costs is running a beta website as well as a crowdsourcing tool called PriceCheck. All price information is searchable and displayed publically, which is kind of nifty if you’re in the market for cheaper medical services.

SMAART

Sometimes it’s hard to remember what instructions your doctor gave or side effects you need to look for. The SMAART app uses Google Glass technology to let patients record videos of conversations they have with their providers and caregivers. All the videos taken during an appointment get uploaded into a single album. If patients need to jog their memory afterward, they can use their phone or computer to watch the video. The proposed app comes from Trauma Ready, a company that helps providers develop and improve trauma centers.

And the Winner is…

The decision was tough, so the panel chose two winners: Nutrify and Clear Health Costs.

The prize? Winners get to put the Patient Shark Tank seal on their websites. They’ll also be featured on e-patients.net and get free tickets to NYeC’s Digital Health Conference in 2015.

Sweet.