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HHS Diagnostic Design Competition for COVID-19 Announces Winners

NEW YORK – The US Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday the winners of its HHS COVID-19 At-Anywhere Diagnostics Design-a-thon, a competition for digital health tools used with COVID-19 diagnostic tests.

Sixteen designs of software and digital tools that directly integrate with COVID-19 testing to automate data reporting were chosen. The designs were intended to "increase speed, quality, comprehensiveness, and utility of SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test data," the US Food and Drug Administration said in a statement. It was also meant to increase reporting accuracy on COVID-19 infection rates across the US to public health officials, FDA continued.

There were 700 participants included in the 10-day technology innovation sprint, and 31 teams submitted capstone projects for judging. The Gold winner was Oracle, which provided a front-end web application programming interface to allow submission of test results directly from mobile apps, test manufacturers, or administrator networks. A team from New York University won the People's Choice Award, designing a smartphone app and cloud-based interfaces between electronic health records for lab and non-lab reporting at the test site.

The winners will move on to a six-week The Opportunity Project virtual tech sprint in January 2021 to further develop their tools. At the end of the sprint, there will be a "Demo Day" showcasing the potential solutions, which will be SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests with built-in and automated data capture and wireless transmission capabilities, the FDA said. 

This will help "alleviate data collection and reporting burdens for patients, providers, anyone administering/using tests, labs through which data is routed … these capabilities will be necessary for data capture and reporting when at-home, non-prescription, and over-the-counter tests are authorized," the FDA said. 

"More FDA-authorized rapid diagnostics, such as point-of-care, over-the-counter, and at-home tests, are increasingly being utilized but often lack an easy way for users, such as schools, nursing homes, or businesses, to report results," said Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett Giroir. "This effort will address this gap."

The full list of winners is available on HHS's website.