HHS announces winners of durable medical equipment idea challenge

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response recently crowned the winners of its idea challenge to support persons that rely on durable medical equipment.

The contest was launched in September and called for innovate ideas on how to serve patients who rely on DMEs during emergencies. The ASPR was specifically seeking a system that could detect the status of life-saving equipment to allow first responders to locate patients in need and announced the contest winners on Thursday.

Leo Angelo Gumpas and Xadean Ahmansi from Laurel, Maryland, took home the first place prize of $5,000 for the development of an internet-based system that can automatically oversee and process data from DME machines to notify emergency responders of an in-need patient during an emergency.

The second place prize of $3,000 went to Stan Barrack from Forest Park, Illinois, for the development of a cell phone application that can securely share the status of DMEs with first responders during an emergency.

The third award of $2,000 went to An-Hu-Li and his son David-Li from Commack, New York, for the development of an inexpensive wireless DME status detection device using two-way radio technology. The device would allow vital information to be sent from a patient DME group to an authorized responder, confidentially notifying them of a patient in-need without potentially compromising the patient's information.

"We hope these innovative solutions can serve as a foundation for further research and development of tools to help DME users during emergencies," HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and response Dr. Nicole Lurie said.