Health Tech Hatch Serves as Idea Crowdsourcer and User Testing Platform for U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

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Company’s Testing Capability Allows Developers to Collaborate with End Users to Produce Consumer-facing Applications That Make Patient Information Useful

We want the Blue Button Co-Design Challenge to be a significant step forward in the creation and adoption of Blue Button Plus-enabled tools and applications.

Health Tech Hatch (Hatch), a resource for entrepreneurs who create innovative health and wellness products and companies, today announced it will operate as the user testing platform for the Blue Button Patient Co-Design Challenge, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) newest challenge effort. The Challenge seeks to amplify the voices of patients with stories to tell and problems to solve through improved access to their health data. The Challenge will also uniquely engage the patient community to teach what patients most want to do with their clinical data by crowdsourcing application ideas and incorporating patients in product design. Crowdsourcing and crowdvoting of ideas will take place from June 3 through June 11 at

Blue Button Plus represents the technical standards and policy levers that help patients make use of their clinical and financial data in technology such as personal health records and health apps. All patients whose providers use Meaningful Use Stage 2 certified technology have the ability to view, download, and securely transmit their clinical data from their provider’s Electronic Health Record into another product or holding place of their choice. This is an enormous opportunity for patient-facing, data receiver applications that previously struggled to collect complete and accurate clinical data without manual patient entry.

Intended to increase the number of priority patient-facing applications able to receive clinical data via Blue Button Plus, the Challenge allows site visitors to vote for the highest priority problems and types of products they think will help them best take care of themselves and their families. The top three ideas/problems will become the target products for this Challenge.

“Supporting innovations that will actually be used by people to improve health is a shared mission among Hatch and HHS/ONC, and is the inspiration behind Hatch's testing platform,” says Patricia Salber, CEO of Health Tech Hatch. “What is so great about this project is the way real patient engagement is built in, starting with crowdsourcing the ideas for the Challenge to having the developers post their concepts on Health Tech Hatch so that patients can iteratively interact with the developers in a codesign process, and vote. It’s the first time such an extensive involvement of patients in the development of apps/tools has taken place.”

Over the summer, developers from across the country will build patient-prioritized tools using the Blue Button Plus technical guidelines, which ensure that patients may move their own health data from a provider’s electronic health record or a patient’s own personal health record into these new products in a secure and structured way. Developers will receive codesign support from real patients through the Health Tech Hatch platform. Testers will be compensated for their time. If you are interested in applying to be a tester, send an email to info(at)healthtechhatch(dot)com.

In August, participants will vote again for the winner. Prizes will also be awarded for the best open source developer tools that make it easier for future applications to become Blue Button Plus enabled. Total prize money is $50,000.

“We want the Blue Button Co-Design Challenge to be a significant step forward in the creation and adoption of Blue Button Plus-enabled tools and applications, said Adam Wong, Management and Program Analyst, ONC. “Utilizing the knowledge and experience we've gained over the past two years from the many challenges we've run, we expect this challenge to result in a slew of new patient applications and developer tools that will bring Blue Button to a wide range of new users. And with the ideation crowd-sourcing and public voting elements we have incorporated the opinions of patients and consumers in an exciting new way.”

Hatch’s platform supports health care innovators by providing the infrastructure for iterative concept feedback from relevant users (consumers and providers) early in design, and hosts challenges that generate solutions for government agencies, foundations, academic institutions and other organizations. An entrepreneur may also crowdfund on the Hatch platform and raise matching funds from sponsor organizations.

The Blue Button Co-Design Challenge builds upon previous ONC activities to support consumer health and patient access to their data. These include Challenges such as Blue Button for All Americans, the Blue Button Mash Up Challenge, and the Health Design Challenge.

For additional information, please visit

About Health Tech Hatch
Health Tech Hatch (“Hatch”) is a platform supporting healthcare innovation via early concept feedback, problem-solving challenges, and crowdfunding. Learn more at

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Amanda Griffith

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