My youngest daughter was born in 2004... in New York Presbyterian Hospital!

It's a funny story, because we don't live in NYC. We live about a 6 hour drive away, in Rochester, NY.

I was on a business trip to NYC so I brought along my wife and our 4-year old daughter. After all, my pregnant wife wasn't due for 6 more weeks.

Of course, she went into labor early, in our hotel room in NYC! My wife took a taxi to NY Presbyterian while I coordinated with local relatives to take care of my 4-year old daughter.

Throughout the labor, we frantically tried to spread the word and get updates out to family and friends, while trying to deal with a lot of unknowns. My parents and my in-laws made the 6 hour drive to NYC to be there, all the while trying to call us for updates.

Premature births are scary, let alone in a foreign city and not in your hometown hospital. Fortunately, New York Presbyterian was great and the baby was healthy. Now our 11-year old daughter has a great story and she considers herself a "Native New Yorker!"

It would have been very helpful to have something like CareShare at the time, so we could just touch one button to keep all our loved ones informed, throughout the process.

How it works

CareShare is a fully functional working iPhone/iPad app, i.e. NOT just a mockup! If you want it on your iOS device, just ask! It's available via TestFlight.

Here's how CareShare works:

The patient or a family member loads the contact info of their friends and family on a mobile app. That part can be done anytime... even months in advance. Once that's done, healthcare status updates can be sent on-the-fly.

When the user wants to send an update, like "It's a girl!" or "7 pounds, 8 ounces!" or whatever, they enter that on the STATUS page.

They can also choose a speaking voice... which is a lot of fun. Choose Siri, James Bond, or a Robot... or you can even have President Obama announce your child's birth to your friends and family! How cool is that? What other hospital offers that service? Talk about "Patient Experience Personalization" !!!

Your custom message is created, via Text-To-Speech, and that message is then "sent" as an automated, customized phone call to each recipient. CareShare handles it all. This way, you can reach people with home phones, flip phones and smartphones.

Challenges I ran into

HIPAA compliance is a concern. I solved that by having the patient or family member enter the info... so it would not come from a hospital employee. I also wasn't sure which category to consider this submission under, as it meets Patient Experience Personalization, Patient (and family) Entertainment, Patient (and family) Education as well as Patient Care Tracking.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Since my daughter was born there, I have a special bond with New York Presbyterian. I was glad to participate and hopefully make it easier for the next patient/family who wants to keep their friends and family informed.

I'm proud that, instead of stopping at a mockup, I have built a fully functional iPad and iPhone app.

I really wanted to focus on the InnovateNYP requirements, specifically:

Ease of Use (20 points) - How intuitive is the experience? Would the end user find the application easy to use and understand?

CareShare is a mobile-friendly, easy to use app. Rather than put everything on one screen, there are three steps, each with a simple interface.

1) Enter your name. That only needs to be done once, obviously.

2) Enter the name and phone number for one or more contacts. This also only needs to be done once, but the user can go back and add more contacts or make changes later.

3) Enter the status update. I pre-populated the form with a sample birth announcement but it can be whatever the user wants to share with their friends and family. This could be revised throughout a hospital stay, and updates can be sent automatically. For example the status could be updated at various stages such as "Water broke" and later "Dilated at ..." and "Contractions at ..." all the way up to the baby's weight and name, etc.

For a "fun" entertainment factor, I added the option of choosing a speaking voice... the familiar Siri, or the classic James Bond, a robot, or even President Obama!

Design (20 points) - Does the prototype have an appealing aesthetic? Is its interface clear and simple?

The design is clear, simple and leverages New York Presbyterian's fonts, colors and logo. I designed it to be familiar to mobile app users and require no learning curve, which is important in a stressful situation.

Benefit for Users (20 points) - Would the intended end user actually use this application? What would users gain from their experience using the application?

The CareShare app and service makes it easy to keep loved ones informed without having to make lots of phone calls manually. If the news is good, this helps to share it quickly, and if it's bad news, it's easier by not having to make multiple difficult phone calls personally. Plus, the user only needs Wi-Fi or an Internet data connection. Some locations in a hospital may not have cellular service or may not allow phone calls, so CareShare is perfect!

Creativity and Innovation (20 points) - Is this a new idea? Does technology like this already exist? How innovative is the concept?

Politicians have used expensive 'RoboCall' systems for years, but this is a new idea, of bringing something that is expensive and difficult and making it easy, useful, mobile, and customizable. The custom Text-To-Speech capabilities of Siri and Obama are quite innovative and state of the art.

My favorite feature is the option of having President Obama make your birth announcement, etc.! The White House offers a service where you can request a congratulatory letter from White House, signed by the President, via postal mail. I did that when my daughter was born in New York Presbyterian... so I thought a phone call would take it to the next level!

Overall Quality (20 points) -Does it address any of the issues and problem areas noted by NYP on the Open Challenge website? Is the submission practical and useful to the hospital and patients? Is this a tool that could be easily implemented?

The app is already working, so it could certainly be customized further to meet NYP's needs. I would like to add the ability to add more than four contacts, which is easy to do, and offer the option of sending a text message or email instead of or in addition to a phone call. That is also easy to do, but I just ran out of time.

CareShare could set NYP apart from the competition. The best part is, every recipient of such a phone call learns about the tech savvy capabilities of NYP, and it becomes a viral, exponential phenomenon!

What I learned

I had to teach myself how to take an MP3 file and have it sent as a phone call, but figured out how to make that happen because of this challenge!

What's next for CareShare: Share your updates with family and friends!

Publish the mobile app on the App Store, allow more contacts, and add the ability to send a text message or email instead of or in addition to a voice call.

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