Discharge Follow-Up Appointment Challenge

On January 26, 2012, the Office of National Coordinator for Health IT, in collaboration with the Partnership for Patients, announced the “Discharge Follow-Up Appointment Challenge,” the second in a series of care transitions competitions launched under the auspices of the Investing in Innovation initiative. The challenge calls attention to care transitions, particularly at the time a patient is discharged from a hospital.

Simple IT-enabled processes and tools can help make transitions easier and safer for providers, patients and care givers by addressing the gaps in and burdens of coordination to effect and  better care, better health and lower cost. Scheduling follow-up appointments and post-discharge testing before leaving the hospital helps ensure safer and more effective transitions.  Unfortunately, most patients across the country continue to leave the hospital without confirmed appointments and many providers remain frustrated by a highly manual and unreliable system.

Nearly one in five patients from a hospital will be readmitted within 30 days. A large proportion of readmissions can be prevented by improving communications and coordinating care before and after discharge from the hospital. ONC is challenging software developers to create easy-to-use web-based tools that will make post-discharge follow-up appointment scheduling a more effective and shared process for care providers, patients and caregivers.  To support the goal of wide-spread adoption, the winner of the challenge will receive partnership consideration with a pilot test bed community candidate, and up to $5,000 to support a three-day site visit to the pilot community.

Have a great idea? Submissions are due April 30, 2012. Winners will receive $5,000 and a pilot opportunity. For more information about the Discharge Follow-Up Appointment Challenge, visit our challenge page here.