Analytic Software Wins Janssen Prize to Reduce Hospital Readmissions

5/23/12Follow @bvbigelow

A team developing analytic software that scores patients for the risk they pose to being readmitted within 30 days after being discharged from a hospital is the winner of the inaugural Janssen Connected Care Challenge. The prize is sponsored by Janssen, a unit of New Brunswick, NJ-based Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) .

Kim Park, a founding partner with Janssen Healthcare Innovation, declared the Discharge Decision Support System (D2S2) as the winner this morning at the 6th Annual Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance (WLSA) Convergence Summit in downtown San Diego. The D2S2 team also was awarded $100,000 to advance the technology, which is under development by RightCare Solutions, a Philadelphia-based startup founded last year by Eric Heil of Domain Associates and Kathryn Bowles, a professor of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania.

The company describes the D2S2 system as a decision-support tool that uses key data from a patient’s admission to analyze the risk that the patient could be readmitted within 30 days after discharge. The software algorithm also “learns” by tracking patient outcomes and adjusting the way it scores a patient’s risk for readmission.

Because the D2S2 risk assessment is done upon admission, RightCare says hospital officials can better plan the discharge and follow-up care for at-risk patients. The company says a second-generation system will be able to recommend whether a patient at-risk for 30-day readmission should be referred to a skilled nursing facility, home care, rehab, or nursing home.

The D2S2 system was among some 100 entries that responded to the incentive prize challenge issued in January by Janssen Healthcare Innovation for technology solutions to improve care for patients who’ve just been discharged from a hospital. Janssen worked with the National Transitions of Care Coalition to develop the evaluation criteria for the submissions and to recruit experts to serve as judges.

In a statement today, Janssen’s Park says, “D2S2 brings innovation to discharge planning by introducing standardization into the admissions process, which is highly variable.”

A screening committee selected D2S2 and two other entries, Chicago-based Cara Health and Bethesda, MD-based Care Rocket, as finalists in April. Each finalist was awarded $50,000 and presented their respective innovations to an eight-judge panel in New York City earlier this month. Videos of the presentations are available here.

Janssen says the winner and finalists will retain all proprietary rights to their submitted proposals.

Heil, who is RightCare’s founding CEO, says the company also was the grand prize winner of the 2012 Wharton Business Plan Competition. With a total of $200,000 in winnings, the company plans to build-out its D2S2 software in a pilot project at four hospitals. “That’s been our seed funding,” Heil says.

The startup, which was founded last year, also is on track to raise an initial round of venture funding, Heil says.

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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