The PCORI Matchmaking App Challenge was an opportunity for innovators to help advance the goal of ensuring that patients, caregivers, clinicians, and others from across the healthcare community are actively engaged in all aspects of the clinical research process, from generating ideas to sharing study results. On June 3, 2013, PCORI announced the two winners of the Challenge, who created innovative ways to connect patients and researchers as partners in efforts to advance patient-centered comparative effectiveness research (CER).

Meet the 2013 Challenge Judges


First Place (Prototype): WellSpringboard
A web-based crowd-sourcing platform, WellSpringboard will let users propose, endorse, and pledge funds for research questions and topics and researchers to apply for funding to conduct studies on the topics that have met their fundraising goals:

First Place (Concept): Actonnect
A web-based search engine and interface, Actonnect aims to enable patients, clinicians, researchers, and others to conduct searches of health information gleaned from dozens of patient forums and sites and to share their results graphically:

Honorable Mentions

Concept ($5,000 prizes)

  • PatientsLikeMe, an online network where people share information and get support and where researchers can glean insights into patients’ experiences from the information users share and the site’s tools.
  • S. T. A. R. INITIATIVE, an initiative consisting of a mobile app would let African-American women connect with researchers and educational curricula for both these women and researchers.
  • Lucid Bell’s Patient-Researcher Match, a web-based application that would incorporate data from the National Institute of Health’s clinical trials database and enable users to create topic profiles for themselves or others.

Prototype ($20,000)

  • Estenda’s Community-Driven Research, an online community that allows patients, caregivers, and researchers to share and rank topics and ideas and to find interested collaborators.
  • ResearchMatch, a national online registry of potential study volunteers and researchers, which aims to create new services, including tools designed to spur dialogue among users.
  • Community Research Partners, an online network where users can create profiles that researchers and members can tap to share interests and explore opportunities to collaborate.


PCORI explored the “open innovation” approach to problem-solving with our first “challenge” initiative – tapping into the expertise of the healthcare and developer communities to help us advance “research done differently.” Our inaugural challenge – developing a patient/research “matching” system that will effectively connect potential partners interested in seeking funding from us for rigorous patient-centered outcomes research.

This challenge, which opened December 15, 2012 and closed on April 15, 2013, was designed to offer an opportunity for innovators to help PCORI more effectively bring the voice of patients, caregivers and other stakeholders to the research process.

A panel of reviewers, including researchers, technologists, patients and other stakeholders, assessed the entries. The review panel judged entries, whether conceptual models or prototypes, based on how well they addressed a number of criteria including technical capacity, usability, scalability and sustainability across diverse populations, the maximization of "patient-centeredness," and the particular challenges of serving "hard-to-reach" audiences, including, but not limited to, ethnic and racial minorities, rural populations, the elderly, the disabled/physically challenged and those for whom English is a second language.

Related Blog Post: Here’s to the Winners: Our Judges Pick the Best of the Entries in the PCORI Challenge


Posted: October 8, 2012; Updated: May 2016

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