Wireless Health Summit Showcases Incentive Prizes as Tool for Change

5/21/12Follow @bvbigelow

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respective technologies for improving patient care in the gray area that exists between different healthcare providers. The winner will get an additional $100,000.

McCray says he hopes J&J’s challenge also will help to prod change, as a provision of the Affordable Care Act requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to reduce reimbursement payments for certain patients who are readmitted to hospitals within 30 days of a prior hospitalization. In addition to providing cash awards for entrepreneurs, McCray says the challenge is “trying to create reasons for competitors to collaborate.”

On Thursday morning, the WLSA has arranged for Peter Diamandis, the founder and chairman of the X Prize Foundation, to announce plans for its next competition. Diamandis also is on the schedule later Thursday for a panel discussion about the use of prizes to spur innovation that includes Qualcomm Chairman and CEO Paul Jacobs and McCray of the WLSA.

The WLSA says it also received a record 160 applications for its own prize competition, the fourth annual iAwards for Wireless Health, which is intended to recognize new wireless technologies in healthcare that are both innovative and have had a recognized impact. The field has been winnowed to 12 finalists in three categories—best consumer experience, clinical application, and operational effectiveness—and a winner will be announced at the summit Thursday.

Although winners of the WLSA competition receive no cash, McCray says, “one of the companies we’ve showcased before [as a 2011 iAward winner] is announcing a significant new venture capital investment.” McCray didn’t say which 2011 iAward winner is making the announcement, but Pittsburgh, PA-based BodyMedia, which makes a wearable sensing device for assessing metabolic activity for weight monitoring, raised $2.7 million of a planned $10 million investment round, according to a regulatory filing in March.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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