We Have A Winner!

By David on June 4, 2013 - Sign up for free updates here

Co-sponsored by Heritage Provider Network, Open mHealth, and the University of California, Los Angeles, the Heritage Open mHealth Challenge was created to catalyze the development of mobile applications using an open architecture to help them communicate with one another and function on multiple devices.

Today at Health Datapalooza IV, we’re happy to announce that the winner of the $100,000 Challenge is Mood Rhythm.

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Mood Rhythm is a mobile application (that runs on iOS and Android) that helps patients with bipolar disorder better monitor and analyze their daily rhythms and stay in balance.

Launched in January of this year, the Heritage Open mHealth Challenge encouraged the use of the Open mHealth architecture to overcome limitations that typically arise when dissimilar mobile health applications cannot communicate with one another. Applications conforming to the open architecture increase the diversity and utility of personalized health information available to improve chronic disease management, both through better patient self-monitoring and better clinical decision-making.

Teams were required to submit a demo of their application, along with video footage of the app in action. To ensure that applications would be developed with the end user in mind, each team entering the challenge had to include at least one member with clinical expertise and at least one participating user serving as a patient or a patient surrogate. Teams were also encouraged to include development, design, and data analysis experts.

“The Challenge was a great opportunity to encourage the development of shared platforms and the integration of different tools. These are critical steps if we’re going to realize the potential of mobile health technologies to improve health. Among several promising applications, Mood Rhythm stood out because of its elegant approach to collecting data in a way that can truly improve [the] ability of patients and their doctors to make better decisions about treating bipolar disorder,” said Dr. Brian Quinn, team director of the Pioneer Portfolio and one of the Challenge judges.

Mood Rhythm takes advantage of smartphones to track a patient’s daily routine and provides feedback to help patients maintain a regular daily rhythm while incorporating this information into clinical decision making. The application also uses sensors in the phone to track sleep and social activity patterns, providing more information for both patients and clinicians. The team is contributing a routine, sleep, and sensing module to Open mHealth.

“Rhythms guide our lives,” said Dr. Tanzeem Choudhury, team member and Professor of Information Science at Cornell University. “Our biological clocks tell us when we need to sleep, eat and wake.  When these rhythms are interrupted or obstructed, it can be difficult for our bodies to get what they need to stay healthy and balanced.”

When asked what the impact of Mood Rhythm might have on the community, Choudhury said, “It is one of the greatest challenges in healthcare to develop cutting edge technology that not only meets clinical needs but that can be incorporated with ease into patients’ lives. The combination of automatic sensing and self-tracking aims to provide long-term low-maintenance support for people with bipolar disorder.  The clinicians and patients who have used MoodRhythm to date have found it to be an enormously valuable tool for monitoring social rhythms and mood and for seeing the relationship between the two. We feel this is due in large part to a balanced collaboration with patients and clinicians acting as co-designers. The ongoing and close involvement of this community will be essential—having their voices steering the future development of MoodRhythm.”

Along with Mood Rhythm, four Challenge finalists were selected. ACEScreening provides hearing screening technology for smartphones and other devices. IMPACT strives to improve physical function, pain, and mobility in older obese adults with hip and/or knee arthritis. Psychologist in a Pocket supports the treatment of psychological disorders. Spiro Sano is an infrastructure for managing multiple respiratory disease states, such as asthma and COPD and for supporting beneficial behavioral changes such as smoking cessation and physical activity.

Common features of submitted projects included the ability to record information in real time instead of having to rely on memory at the end of the day, control over when and how much information is provided to the doctor, and using sensing tools such as global position systems and accelerometers to track social activity and other behaviors.

The judging panel for the challenge included Deborah Estrin, Computer Science Professor and Co-Founder of Open mHealth; Dr. Richard Merkin, CEO and Founder of the Heritage Provider Network; Dr. David Feinberg, President of the UCLA Health System; former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra; Dr. Mark Smith, President and CEO of California HealthCare Foundation; Anne Wojcicki, Co-Founder of 23andMe; Dr. Mark McClellan, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration; Karen Ignagni, President and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans; and Brian Quinn, Team Director of Pioneer Portfolio.