Yep, There’s An App For That

As with everything else that is moving at warp speed to ensure the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (PPACA or ACA) mandated Health Insurance Exchange (or Marketplace) requirement is on-line by October 1, 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is using every available means to get information out about what the ACA is trying to do. And just when we thought the federal government was getting techno-savvy with their on-line Health Insurance Marketplace, they go and surprise us with a smart-phone app! The HHS held a friendly competition to develop this new app to help you focus on what YOU can do to help embrace the ACA goals.  The new app, which you can download from iTunes, will allow you to “customize health prevention information for you and your family members” at the touch of your fingertips. That means by being pro-active about taking care your health you could reduce your health care costs over the long run. Read on and see how you can now take your health care responsibilities with you where ever you go!

Lyfechannel wins the Mobile App Challenge
App helps families make informed decisions about their health
(Press Release: Dept of Health and Human Services, April 30, 2013)

HHS Assistant Secretary for Health, Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH, today announced Lyfechannel as the winner of the Mobile App Challenge. The winning app, called myfamily, will help individuals manage their family’s health through customized prevention information for each family member — all in one tool.

The app, which focuses on the preventive care benefits and services covered by the Affordable Care Act, will empower individuals to take greater action to improve and maintain their family’s health. Users can find customized prevention information and tips for each member of their family, create personal health alerts, and keep track of medical check-ups and vaccinations. Research shows that patients who are better engaged in their own health care have better health outcomes and electronic tools can help them be better health consumers.

“This app helps put the power of prevention at the fingertips of Americans,” said Dr. Koh. “Families can now use preventive care information to make informed, personalized health care decisions right from their smart phone.”

The Mobile App Challenge was sponsored by the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and managed in coordination with healthcare technology company Health 2.0 and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It challenged developers and health professionals to work together to co-design a mobile application that makes content customizable and easy to use for prevention care planning. provides reliable and actionable information on prevention and wellness topics, including the clinical preventive services covered under the Affordable Care Act.
During the first phase of the challenge, developers worked with end users, via a crowdsourcing platform called Health Tech Hatch (HTH), to build a working prototype. More than 160 individuals registered as testers and provided more than 260 comments. Three finalists were selected from 26 submissions to move on to the second and final phase.

“For the first time during a challenge competition we went to end users during the development of the applications,” said Bryan Sivak, chief technology officer, HHS. “The use of crowdsourcing and feedback loops provided teams with critical information to develop a more useful application– not just another app – but a piece of technology that fulfills the needs of its users and improves health.”

Submissions were reviewed based on weighted criteria, including usability and design, evidence of co-design, innovation in design, functionality and accuracy, and branding. Particular emphasis was placed on the use of plain language and health literacy principles, as well as connecting users to information about clinical preventive services.

The myfamily app was developed by Lyfechannel, a small privately-held company that translates evidence-based health behavior and adherence studies into mobile patient experiences. Lyfechannel is headquartered in San Carlos, Calif.

For more information about the challenge winner and steps on downloading the app from iTunes, visit:

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