RWJF Emergency Response Challenges: The Demos!

By ELIZABETH BROWN

RWJF (Both) Challenge Graphic.png

In mid-June, Catalyst launched the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Emergency Response Innovation Challenges. These Challenges, one for the General Public and one for the Health Care System, asked innovators to develop a health technology tool to support the needs of individuals as well as health care systems affected by a large-scale health crisis, such as a pandemic or natural disaster. 

The Challenges saw a record number of applications— nearly 125 applications were submitted to the General Public Challenge and over 130 applications were submitted to the Health Care System Challenge. Over the course of several months and with the help of experts and industry leaders who evaluated the submissions, these applications were narrowed down to five and then again until only three teams per Challenge remained. These teams were:  

Emergency Response for the General Public Finalists:

  • Binformed CovidataBinformed is a clinically-driven comprehensive desktop + mobile infectious disease, epidemic + pandemic management tool targeting suppression and containment of diseases such as COVID-19.
  • CovidSMS CovidSMS is a text message-based platform providing city-specific information and resources to help low-income communities endure COVID-19.
  • Fresh EBT by PropelA technology tool for SNAP families to address food insecurity & economic vulnerability in times of crisis.   

Emergency Response for the Health Care System Finalists:

  • Path CheckPath Check provides privacy first, free, open source solutions for public health to supplement manual contact tracing, visualize hot spots, and interfaces with citizen-facing privacy first apps.
  • QventusQventus is a patient flow automation solution that applies AI / ML and behavioral science to help health systems optimize resources for Covid, create effective capacity, and reduce frontline burnout.
  • Tiatros A mental health and social support platform that combines clinical expertise, peer communities and scalable technology to advance mental wellbeing and to sustain meaningful behavioral change.

These six teams competed in the finals, a virtual pitch event, on November 19th in front of expert judging panels, who evaluated the entries on impact, UX/UI, innovation/creativity, scalability and strength of presentation. (Also re-introduced during this event was Catalyst’s SourceDB, a health tech tracking database – more on that in a separate blog post here!)

In the Health Care System Innovation Challenge, judges awarded first, second, and third place to Qventus, Path Check, and Tiatros, Inc., respectively, with these teams receiving, in order, $25,000, $15,000, and $5,000. However, there was a tie for first in the General Public Innovation Challenge between binformed | covidata and CovidSMS. These two teams split the first and second place prizes and received $17,500 each, and Fresh EBT by Propel in third place received $5,000.


See the demos from all six teams below!

Health Care System:

Qventus

Pathcheck

Tiatros

General Public:

binformed: COVID Data

COVID SMS

Fresh EBT

Missed the event? View the full recording below:

We follow up with the winners of the Challenges in a separate blog post here

To learn more about the two Challenges, please visit the Challenge websites, bit.ly/genpublicresponse and bit.ly/healthcareresponse

Elizabeth Brown is a Program Manager at Catalyst @ Health 2.0

RWJF Emergency Response Challenge Results!

by MATTHEW HOLT

Yesterday Catalyst @ Health 2.0 hosted the finals of the RWJF Emergency Response Challenges, one for tools for the General Public and the other for the Health System. It was a great session, sadly virtual and not at a conference with cocktails afterwards. But the promise of the tools that have been built as part of these challenges is immense in the battle against this COVID-19 pandemic and the ones yet to come.

The finalists for the General Public challenge were

  • Binformed Covidata– A clinically-driven comprehensive desktop + mobile infectious disease, epidemic + pandemic management tool targeting suppression and containment of diseases such as COVID-19. The presenter was veteran health IT expert Rick Peters.
  • CovidSMS– A text message-based platform providing city-specific information and resources to help low-income communities endure COVID-19. In contrast to Rick, CovidSMS’ team were undergraduates at Johns Hopkins led by Serena Wang
  • Fresh EBT by Propel– A technology tool for SNAP families to address food insecurity & economic vulnerability in times of crisis – highlighted by Michael Lewis on his Against the Rules podcast about coaching earlier this year. Stacey Taylor, head of partnerships for Propel presented their solutions for those in desperate need.

The finalists for the Health System challenge were

  • PathCheck A non profit just spun out of MIT. It has a raft of volunteers and well known advisors like John Brownstein and John Halamka among many others, and is already working with several states and countries. Pathcheck provides privacy first, free, open source solutions for public health to supplement manual contact tracing, visualize hot spots, and interface with citizen-facing privacy first apps. MIT Professor Ramesh Raskar was the presenter.
  • Qventus A patient flow automation solution that applies AI / ML and behavioral science to help health systems create effective capacity, and reduce frontline burnout. Qventus is a great data analytics startup story. It’s raised over $45m and has lots of health system clients, and they have built a suite of new tools to help them with pandemic preparedness. Anthony Moorman, who won the best facial hair of the day award, showed the demo.
  • Tiatros IncA mental health and social support platform that combines clinical expertise, peer communities and scalable technology to advance mental wellbeing and to sustain meaningful behavioral change. They’ve done a lot of work with soldiers with PTSD and as you’ll see entered this challenge to get their tools to another group of extremely stressed professionals–frontline health care workers. CEO Kimberlie Cerrone and COO Seth Norman jointly presented.

Videos of the whole session and the demos will be up soon.

And the winners were…

A tie in General Public challenge between CovidSMS & BInformed, who split the $25,000 first prize (and the $10,000 second prize!)

Qventus in the Health System challenge who take home $25,000

But there were no losers. A great culmination of a lot of work to get tech solutions to help us deal with the pandemic.

Matthew Holt is Publisher of THCB and also Co-Chairman at Catalyst @ Health 2.0