This paper shares the lessons learned from the “A Bill You Can Understand” Design and Innovation Challenge, an open design competition dedicated to helping patients in the U.S. health care system understand their medical bills and the financial aspect of health. We describe what we found while preparing these materials related to pain points for patients associated with the current medical billing process and opportunities for improvement. We summarize the common features in the entries, with special focus on the Published Set of two prize winners and ten honorable mentions. Finally, we share insights into what members of the health care industry can learn from these innovative designs. Patients today are expected to integrate, verify and prioritize cost and billing information flowing to them from multiple sources. The best designs integrate these into one or fewer sources before reaching the patient. We propose three pathways that align the flow of information with current consumer expectations:

  • Healthcare Network as Source

  • Insurer as Source
  • Third-Party Service as Source

All three pathways address a common theme: alleviate the fragmentation of the patient’s financial relationships.

Challenge Winners

“The ‘A Bill You Can Understand’ design and innovation challenge demonstrates that ‘collaboration is the new innovation.’ Public and private players leveraged their respective platforms, expertise, and perspective to accelerate progress toward solving a key consumer pain point with our health care system. This is only the beginning.” Karen DeSalvo, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Two challenge winners were selected from 84 submissions and were announced at the Health 2.0 conference on September 28, 2016. There were also 10 submissions who received an honorable mention. A big thanks goes out to all who were involved in the challenge.


Honorable Mentions: Prize 1 - Easiest Bill to Understand

Honorable Mentions: Prize 2 - Transformational Approach

Please note that each contestant’s design and all rights, including intellectual property rights, title, and interest lie exclusively with the contestant.