AHRQ Step Up Challenge: With First-Phase Winners Identified, the Competition Intensifies!

By Gopal Khanna, M.B.A., Director of AHRQ
Twitter: @AHRQNews

I’m very excited to tell you about the 10 winners from the first phase of the AHRQ Step Up App Challenge. Their stellar work moves us closer to achieving the goal of developing an app that integrates standardized patient-reported outcomes (PRO) data into clinical care and research.

These data are critically important. Insights gained from PRO data can help clinicians provide safe and high-value care for the American people. But currently, there’s a lack of easy-to-use, patient-friendly ways of collecting and making these data available.

As I’ve highlighted in a new video, AHRQ’s Step Up App challenge competition will produce a user-friendly app that can meet these needs. It’s another innovative approach consistent with AHRQ’s aim to improve the quality of care and part of my efforts to reshape the Agency’s work to meet the growing demands of the digitally enabled American health care landscape.

The competition has three phases that proceed from the development of a business proposal, to development of the app, and finally, to testing the winning app in nine practice settings affiliated with MedStar Health in Washington, DC. Cash prizes will be awarded at each phase with the grand prize winner receiving as much as $87,000.

AHRQ’s $250,000 Step Up App Challenge: Semifinalist Update
Audio description version—Step Up App Challenge: Semifinalist Update

AHRQ received over 50 applications, and after an extensive reviewing process the 10 finalists were selected to move on to phase 2 of the challenge. The top 10 finalists were selected based on the originality, feasibility, and executability of their app development approaches for this challenge. The finalists are (in alphabetical order):

  • AgilisIT.
  • Asymmetrik.
  • Booz Allen Hamilton.
  • cliexa.
  • Health Wizz.
  • PEER Technologies, PLLC.
  • PRISM.
  • Qidza Inc.
  • Social & Scientific Systems.
  • 1upHealth.

In the competition’s phase 2 development stage, phase 1 winners will use their prize funds to design, develop, and demo a PRO app. To advance prototypes that guide patients to enter PRO data in a standardized manner, each of these apps will use technical specifications and PROMIS® physical functioning measures required by AHRQ.

After the 10 current competitors present their applications and submit implementation plans, the top three will be selected based on the performance of their apps and the viability of their implementation plans. The stakes are high for the competitors. The grand prizewinner will receive $35,000 from phase 2 and be invited to pilot their technology in a real-life health care system. Second- and third-place winners will receive $30,000 and $25,000, respectively.

The Step Up App Challenge is part of my vision for AHRQ to advance digital health care in this Nation and realize its potential to improve outcomes through broader use of patient data. Congratulations to the winners of phase 1. My colleagues and I are eager to see what the next phase brings!

This article was originally published on AHRQ Views Blog and is republished here with permission.