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VU employee wins inaugural Health App Challenge

Sep. 19, 2013, 9:19 AM

The inaugural Health App Challenge from Vanderbilt University attracted participants from as far away as India, but the winner is an imaging software engineer on campus.

Kevin Wilson of the Vanderbilt Institute of Imaging Science was selected for his submission to transform patient clinical summaries into easy to understand personalized health information.
Wilson said there is an increasing need for the advancement of health care informatics through opportunities like the Health App Challenge that incorporate ideas from a global development community.

Kevin Wilson

“There needed to be a straightforward application that was able to clearly present the patient with a large amount of data without overwhelming them, while still allowing access to more detailed information if desired,” Wilson said. “From the technical side the primary goals were to develop a secure, flexible, expandable and efficient system.”

Wilson’s solution will be tested in a small patient population for feedback and suggestions and then modified and implemented for all of Vanderbilt University Medical Center over the next six months. It will be incorporated into the My Health at Vanderbilt (MHAV) patient portal.

“We will be implementing a version of the winner’s solution into MHAV, preferably as soon as possible,” said Trent Rosenbloom, M.D., MPH, associate professor of Biomedical Informatics.

“The winning solution provided us a great solution and the accompanying computer programming codes. That will allow us to examine and integrate the code efficiently. The solution addresses an important problem for MHAV. When the challenge was launched, we had a lot of different possible solutions in mind but mostly we had an open mind. We were just hoping for an entry to show us a novel and creative way to address the problem we had,” Rosenbloom said.

The contest was seeking software solutions that can generate rich, highly usable, and informative patient clinical summaries.

Contestants used a set of test patient information, data schema, and other resources to develop applications that create modernized patient clinical summaries as part of the electronic health record.

“Our goal for conducting this challenge was to engage a different and diverse audience in the process of developing tools that help patients understand and plan their care,” said Kevin Johnson, M.D., Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics.

“We received a number of innovative solutions, but one in particular excited all of us with its attention to detail, its use of a simple user interface, and its compliance with the guidelines of the Challenge. I think patients will be ecstatic to see what this winner has produced for Vanderbilt to deploy.”

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