Allegheny Health Network wants you to ‘Design the Chip’ to streamline ER visits

The device could be wearable. It could be an iPhone app. Whatever it is, your design could win a $10,000 prize.

Allegheny General Hospital

Allegheny General Hospital

courtesy of AHN
MJ Slaby

Update, Sept. 19: AHN extended the deadline to enter the challenge to Jan. 4, 2018.

Health care needs to work on its customer service, said Dr. Paul Porter, medical director of emergency medicine at Allegheny General Hospital.

“I find it baffling that Sheetz is a better customer experience than most hospitals,” he said, adding that Sheetz is able to handle multiple complicated orders in a quick and easy way.

So Allegheny Health Network, along with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, launched AHN’s Design the Chip Challenge to find the best design for a portable and secure way for patients to bring their medical histories with them to the doctor’s office and to streamline the emergency department’s registration process.

Having a medical chip or device of some kind would mean no more clipboards of paperwork in the waiting room, Porter said. It could also help in cases where a senior doesn’t remember what medicine they are on or if a patient doesn’t speak English. In emergencies, hospital staff could have all the information they need, even if a patient is unresponsive.

Porter said solutions such as medical ID bracelets and the Apple Health app already exist, but this new product should would work on a broad scale and be able to sync with the health network’s electronic health records system.

“Our goal is to make accessing medical care as simple as placing an order at a convenience store. Our ideal piece of technology will allow our patients to walk right in to the Emergency Room. The chip will improve patient safety, convenience and personalized care,” per the challenge’s website.

The device could be wearable. It could be an iPhone app. It could be something totally different. Porter said there’s so much tech talent in Pittsburgh, and it would be totally up to them to design what’s best.

How the challenge works

Submit ideas to the Design the Chip Challenge until Sept. 15. After that, the top 10 teams will present their ideas to a panel of judges who will choose the winner of a $10,000 prize.

Anyone can enter the challenge, as long as the idea works and keeps records secure, Porter said. As far as making the idea a reality and growing the product? It will be up to the winning team to see how far they want to take it, he said.