Kansas City Digital Drive’s health application, Project Helix, won $5,000 and advanced to the next round of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Choosing Care Challenge on April 24.Project Helix has the potential to win more funding in the final round: another $5,000 for third place, $15,000 for second place and $50,000 for first.

RWJF’s Choosing Care Challenge was created to address the issue of patient healthcare follow up in three areas: prescriptions, imaging labs and specialists. The goal: create an app that would de-mystify doctors’ instructions and follow-up visits, while also potentially saving patients time and money.

Five projects advanced to the next round, including KCDD’s Project Helix, which is a “chat bot” app that walks the patient through the steps of a doctor’s recommendations so that they’re easy to understand and complete. The other four final projects addressed these issues in similar fashion, using technology like automatic referrals, online booking tools, text messaging and online patient “bidding pools.”

Project Helix’s development team is a combination of Kansas City Digital Drive’s network, including Anurag Patel, Steve Fennel, John Fitzpatrick from the Healthcare Innovation Team and Jon Kohrs and Dr. Lisa Jo Elliott from Code for KC, led by Aaron Deacon. Using their combined knowledge of the healthcare system, coding and technology, as well as input from other medical professionals, the team decided a chatbot app would be the best solution to empower patients to follow up on their appointments and prescriptions.

“The interface acts like a real person that you would text message back and forth if you had your own personal assistant to help navigate you through the complexity of finding the least expensive prescription, the best specialist and the best imaging for you and your particular needs,” said User Design specialist Jo Elliott.

The Project Helix team is currently identifying use cases to test in their chatbot app. These use cases include a busy single father of two children and a young woman recently diagnosed with asthma. The use cases are meant to show possible hypothetical situations, one with a chronic illness and one with a busy lifestyle, and how this app might benefit each of them.

The team will submit a fully functional app with use cases for the final round on June 19, 2017. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on the final challenge results!

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