Better is Best: Winner of Vertex Pharma’s Health 2.0 Cystic Fibrosis Developer Challenge Announced


Imagine a life where exhaustion is an expected and everyday occurrence—not an occasional side effect of a taxing job or family life—and where a regimen of pills and inhalers are utilized morning and night. These are all factors that the nearly 75,000 people living with cystic fibrosis (CF) must learn to manage.

Beyond advances in traditional medical treatment, we wanted to explore and highlight new programs and technology solutions that may help people with cystic fibrosis.  Vertex Pharmaceuticals, in association with Health 2.0, sponsored the Technology of Cystic Fibrosis Life Transitions Challenge from July 2014 to January 2015.

Three startups — Better, Smart Patients, and Social Code — took home first, second, and third place, respectively. Better was awarded the $50,000 grand prize and seeks to provide individualized services to families and people with CF in the form of a personal health assistant, who can help patients improve care coordination and communication. This kind of personalized care becomes increasingly important when people with CF move through different stages of their lives, and their treatment regimens and health needs evolve.

better Better provides support through their app based technology which allows individuals to address their health questions wherever and whenever by affording them 24/7 access to their personal health assistant. In addition, each user can easily and effectively transmit and deliver  information and metrics to their personal health assistant.


Smart Patients, winner of the $25,000 second place prize, focuses on the creation of Smart Patientspeer-to-peer communities that are essential for people with CF because meeting face-to-face is often challenging. Smart Patients aims to develop an online community that provides patients and caregivers with a private forum where they can obtain support through discussion forums as well as  expert-suggested topics and information.

social code


Social Code’s mobile app, Breathr won the $5,000 third place prize and brings a support community to younger individuals with CF who are in the process of transitioning to adulthood. This app provides a secure online space where patients can obtain support and advice from nurses and other users. Formatted as a social networking tool, Breathr features an easy-to-use and aesthetic format with behavior changing tools. Users are able to pose questions to a forum, upload photos, interact, and share stories and experiences. Tasks relating to positive and healthful behaviors can be tracked, and completing them allows users to earn points and the chance to appear on the leader board. The built-in health tracking tool makes it easy for individuals with CF to track and understand their health statistics.

As the face of cystic fibrosis changes, so does the technology used to combat it. Creating networks with experts, nurses, others with CF, and family and friends can help foster a community of support.  Additionally, these app based solutions empower individual self-care and responsibility.


About Health 2.0 Developer Challenge
With more than $7M awarded in prizes to-date, Health 2.0’s Developer Challenge Programs foster online competitions aimed at tackling the most complex challenges we face in health care. The world’s top developers, designers, health care professionals and entrepreneurs compete in these challenges, pilot programs and code-a-thons to create and prototype innovative applications and tools. These competitions leverage funding, market reach and validation that only Health 2.0 can provide.

Media Contact
Healther Burchfield

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