NSU Pharmacist Wins International Microsoft Health App Challenge

Dr. Zaher Hajar
Dr. Zaher Hajar

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – More and more people are downloading applications or ‘apps’ to their cell phones to help manage their health, and in less than five years it is predicted that 50 percent of smartphone owners will have downloaded mobile health apps.

These developments have not gone unnoticed by Nova Southeastern University (NSU) Research Fellow Zaher Hajar, PharmD. Recently, Hajar, who is based at the College of Pharmacy (COP) Center for Consumer Health Informatics Research, assembled a team of clinicians and coders in response to an international app challenge by Microsoft and Health 2.0.

The “Re-imagining Consumer Health With Windows 8 and Healthvault Challenge” called upon innovators to design a “next generation health management app.” Hajar and the team, comprised of NSU COP faculty member Kevin A. Clauson, PharmD. and Windows Phone 7 Evangelists from Techmind, created an app named Health eConnect and submitted their entry.

Following deliberation by a panel of judges from Microsoft, Health 2.0 News recently announced that NSU’s Health eConnect app was crowned the winner of the app challenge.

The team was awarded $10,000, a Microsoft Surface Pro, and inclusion as one of Microsoft preferred Window 8 partners. Submission of the Health eConnect app to the Windows Store under terms of the challenge also grants a waiver of the standard Go-Live fee of $20,000 and other benefits.

“NSU is incredibly proud of this team of innovators for using technology to find ways to make patients’ lives easier,” Fred Lippman, R.Ph., Ed.D., chancellor of NSU’s Health Professions Division. “It is our goal to translate research and knowledge into practical uses that benefit the public.”

Health eConnect App image
Health eConnect App image

According to Health 2.0 News, Health eConnect enables consumers to manage chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes through wireless links to blood pressure cuffs, glucose monitors and other devices. By using data from HealthVault, the app presents users’ health data in a visual manner and enables timely notifications to help consumers more actively manage their conditions and remember to take medications.

HealthVault synchronizes patients’ medication regimens and other useful data, providing information on drug interactions and other timely, helpful information for the user.

“It is an honor to be recognized by a leading technology company like Microsoft, and we look forward to working with the Health eConnect team and Microsoft to continue to refine the application and prepare it for final release in the Windows Store,” said Hajar.

According to the challenge’s website, the judges used the following criteria to determine the winning app:
•    Creativity and innovation
•    Potential for patient engagement and improving individual or population health outcomes
•    Design, usability, and intuitiveness of the application including design in alignment with Windows 8 design
•    Use of Windows 8 features
•    Meaningful integrations and data exchange with the HealthVault platform
•    Ability to reach a broad range of consumers or healthcare providers

About NSU’s College of Pharmacy: The COP offers a challenging professional degree program of study in pharmacy that emphasizes the pharmaceutical sciences and patient-centered care. Presented with the use of innovative teaching modalities and the newest technology, the curriculum is designed to prepare pharmacy graduates for life-long learning and leadership capabilities as medication therapy managers in our nation’s healthcare system.  You will find our programs conducted by an exceptional, talented faculty committed to your education.  They, themselves, are agents of change in such diverse fields of research and practice as genomics, drug development, informatics, and pharmacotherapy. http://pharmacy.nova.edu/

About Nova Southeastern University
About Nova Southeastern University: Situated on 300 beautiful acres in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a dynamic fully accredited research institution dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs at all levels.  NSU is a not-for-profit independent institution with an enrollment of approximately 27,000 students. NSU awards associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, doctoral and first-professional degrees in a wide range of fields. NSU is classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and it is one of only 37 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification. For more information visit www.nova.edu.

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