Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Introducing the Box + Dignity Health Patient Education App Challenge


Patient Engagement: The Holy Grail

Today, a dominant conversation in healthcare is around patient engagement: programs and technology solutions that get people more engaged in their health. The goal of patient engagement is to achieve better health outcomes and subsequently reduce healthcare costs. As an industry segment, engagement is broad in definition and is already seeing some early disruptors in the areas of medication compliance, disease management, remote monitoring, telehealth, patient portals and care coordination. The industry has made a lot of progress, since my years at Google Health, but there is still one area that needs attention: patient education.

Where We Are Today: An Opportunity to Innovate

Too often, patients receive critical information about new diagnoses, treatment plans, and surgical procedures in the most ineffective means possible: paper-based pamphlets and Xeroxed handouts. Even when providers use software applications like Electronic Health Records (EHR) or patient portals, they still rely on embedded content in those applications for patient education. The content is rarely personalized or easy to read, only localized to a few secondary languages, and rarely vetted by the patient’s personal physician. As a result, getting informed about a critical healthcare decision feels somewhat archaic and disconnected from the way people get information elsewhere in their lives. Patients and family members feel vulnerable because they don’t have relevant access to the information they need to make confident and informed decisions. They resort to generic searches online, get more scared, and come back to their doctors with even more questions – or worse, don’t communicate at all.

Our Vision: Using Technology to Activate Information

At Box, our goal in healthcare is to connect disparate parties to enable collaboration by providing a secure, cloud-based, content collaboration platform that supports HIPAA compliance. The cloud allows for platform agnostic applications to be accessible and deployed wherever the patient needs access to information. And we believe that timely and personalized information can engage patients on their terms – from any device, anywhere, from waiting rooms to living rooms.


Call to Action: Patient Education App Challenge

We know there are hurdles to innovating in healthcare, namely: capital, customers and technology.  So to help deliver on this vision, we’ve partnered with Dignity Health, the nation’s fifth largest hospital system and The Social+Capital Partnership, a Silicon Valley based venture capital firm with 5 investments in digital health, to find app developers who want to invent new ways for doctors and hospitals to deliver engaging content to patients. Specifically, the goal of the app challenge is to build innovative tools to help patients consume, interact with and assemble follow up questions for care teams. We’re particularly excited to help patients and doctors continually collaborate over educational questions and needs. The winning team will receive a $100,000 investment in the form of a convertible note one month of office space and mentorship from The Social+Capital Partnership, and an opportunity to present their solution to Dignity Health’s leadership as a potential pilot project. The winner will also receive marketing and sales support from Box. The panel of judges is an esteemed group of thought leaders from healthcare, government and technology and includes:

  • Aneesh Chopra, Former U.S. Chief Technology Officer, White House
  • Ted Maidenberg, General Partner, The Social+Capital Partnership
  • Aaron Levie, CEO, Box
  • Richard Roth, Vice President, Strategic Innovation, Dignity Health

We’re also excited to be joined by leading cloud companies, Twilio, Tokbox, Parse and Firebase, who will be providing challenge participants with full access to developer tools and services to help increase the functionality of their submissions.

We have made some progress in patient engagement, but we need help digitalizing the entire patient education experience and leveraging the cloud to store information and make it accessible to all. If you have a great product or team that wants to change the way millions of patients are seeking educational content today, please apply here.


    It’s so great that Box, Dignity Health and Social+Capital are partnering to incentivize healthtech application developers to leverage modern tech innovations to better the healthcare industry. With burgeoning innovations like Big Data analytics, machine-learning algorithms, and high-def tele-presence, among many others, there are numerous tools available to help make patients healthier, physicians more productive, and insurers more cost-effective.

    However, healthcare is an extremely difficult industry to break into/innovate: there are mis-aligned physician/patient incentives, shrinking reimbursement payments, strict regulation, and a general attitude among many consumers that they shouldn’t have to pay directly for care – healthcare has very unique challenges, unlike many other industries.

    All that said, with the help and endorsement of big players like Box, Dignity Health and Social+Capital, healthcare will change for the better sooner rather than later … Such an exciting time for healthcare technology!

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