AMA competition recognizes 3 health care technology innovations 

Troy Parks , News Writer

Three health care technology solutions are one step closer to wider spread availability as of Saturday night after the AMA Healthier Nation Innovation Challenge winners were announced. The top choice: A smartphone app that has already started saving lives and bridging communication gaps in health care.

The AMA’s Healthier Nation Innovation Challenge kicked off in April and invited all U.S. physicians, residents and medical students to be a positive force for health care and present their best ideas for shaping 21st-century medicine. The three winning ideas were selected from a total of 116 solutions submitted to compete in the challenge.


The winners were

elected during a live event at MATTER, Chicago’s health care technology incubator. They will share $50,000 in prizes to accelerate their solutions.

First place: Twiage wins $25,000

Twiage is a secure, pre-hospital platform that helps hospitals not only save time and money but also patient lives. “We’ve built a free smartphone application for EMS that’s faster, easier and more powerful than radios,” said YiDing Yu, MD, a practicing internist and founder of Twiage.     

“A paramedic can send photos and videos in real time to the hospital,” Dr. Yu said. “They can, in one click, select the chief complaint and use our proprietary algorithms that help provide decision support that helps standardize diagnosis pre-hospital.”      

For example, if a patient has a broken arm and is on their way to the hospital in an ambulance while another patient is having a heart attack and is also traveling to that same hospital in an ambulance, the emergency department is able to obtain the necessary information before they arrive to prioritize and make sure they are ready to immediately treat the patient having the heart attack.

Second place: Lightline Catheter wins $15,000

Lightline catheter, presented by Mitchell Barneck, a rising fourth-year medical student at Oregon Health and Science University and co-founder of Veritas Medical, and John Langell, MD, who mentored the development team, is a catheter that employs a novel visible light phototherapy technology to actively disinfect the device while residing within a patient’s body.    

“405 nanometer blue light, a component of visible spectrum light, has proven to be a powerful weapon against … deadly bacteria,” Barneck said. “Our team has been able to isolate, intensify and harness this blue light source, and we can now use a proprietary technology to propagate it … through any commercial catheter, where we can actively destroy [the] bacteria that cause infections.”     

“We can kill 99.9999 percent of organisms,” he said. “At our current dose, we are completely nontoxic to mammalian cells, and we’ve shown that we have no impact on blood components.”

Third place: Ceeable wins $10,000 

Ceeable is a mobile digital health technology to detect and diagnose eye disease, including glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. The concept was presented by presented by Cynthia Matossian, MD, an ophthalmologist and owner, CEO and medical director of Matossian Eye Associates, and Chris Adams, co-founder and CEO of Ceeable.     

“With this tool,” Dr. Matossian said, “we are going to be able to detect disease processes much earlier by recognizing patterns of these different entities, so we can pick up disease early and prevent blindness.”

In addition to $50,000, winners will gain access to the AMA’s network of partners that specialize in strategy and design support for entrepreneurs and startups, including Business Models, Inc., Edge One Medical, Healthbox, MATTER, MU/DAI and Techstars.

“A passion for transforming health care is a quality physicians and medical students share with many pioneering entrepreneurs,” said James L. Madara, MD, AMA CEO and executive vice president. “To harness this passion for health care innovation, the AMA is expanding efforts to inspire and support physician-led medical advances, and is proud to support the best new ideas to create a healthier nation.”

During the submission period, physicians, residents, medical students, nurses, patients, hospital staff, health leaders and investors had the opportunity to review and provide feedback on the ideas. This crowd engagement generated nearly 16,000 online interactions between applicants and reviewers, including votes, follows, interest to pilot, interest to partner and feedback.

The AMA’s Healthier Nation Innovation Challenge underscores the commitment of America’s physicians to supporting health care innovation and collaboration. The AMA is now deeply involved in driving transformative health care innovation as it ramps up efforts to bridge the gap between creative idea development and the realities of patient care.

From revitalizing medical practices to ensuring that digital health helps provide high-quality patient care, the AMA’s ongoing work is striving to forge new paths that expand the bounds of science, enhance patient care and improve the health of the nation.