Discharge app, hospital porter request tool win early GE Hospital Quest prizes

By Neil Versel

Hospital Discharge Roadmap AppSubmissions to GE Healthcare's $100,000 Hospital Quest app challenge were due Friday, but even before the contest closed, the company already announced two early winners of $5,000 each.

The first winner, Discharge Roadmap, facilitates communication between hospitals and community-based care providers and helps standardize processes for transitioning patients out of hospital care. This iPad-based mobile app consists of separate portals for patients, physicians and outside caregivers.

The patient portal takes users through the discharge process, discussing such topics as each person's care team and a list of post-hospitalization needs, and lets individuals choose homecare providers and telemonitoring equipment. Both patient and caregiver sections offer updates of progress toward discharge, educational material and personal health assessment tools.

The app also allows users to schedule follow-up physician visits and other necessary appointments, according to contest material. Similarly, healthcare professionals can set preferences, including preferred appointment times, while physicians also can publish referral notes and discharge summaries to other care providers via the iPad.

Discharge Roadmap, created by a team from Buffalo, N.Y., took home its prize in December for best meeting the contest's first development milestone. The other early winner, Request-a-Porter, from British startup company ClearStream Health, won the second development milestone in January.

Request-a-Porter is meant to speed up the processes of transporting patients and specimens within hospitals by automating porter requests. It helps reduce waiting times for patients and laboratory tests, make porters more efficient and reduce downtime for diagnostic equipment, according to a video provided by the developer.

The smartphone app also keeps an audit log of transport requests, providing better accuracy and accountability than current phone-and-paper-based call processes. ClearStream suggests that it could track the location of porters either by a smartphone's GPS, by triangulating based on WiFi access points or with RFID tags.

A companion porter control system for dispatchers runs on either tablets or PCs.

GE, in partnership with New Orleans-based Ochsner Health System, will award eight grand prizes and one "Lean startup" winner on March 4, during the annual HIMSS conference in New Orleans.