TRAILS Competition

Traction and Implementation Lead to Solutions
TRAILS Competition

The TRAILS Competition has been designed to provide promising startups access to real-world testing and application. The winner will gain a better understanding of how their product can be implemented to improve the health care system.

Congratulations to the fall 2019 TRAILS Competition winner, Samaritan!!!!

"Samaritan provides smart wallets specifically designed for people without a home, linking them to the financial capital and relational guidance needed to address their housing and health. The beacon is free to use but must be renewed with the counselor/clinician visit every 30 days. These preventative visits, coupled with new relational and financial support from the community, help patients build resources and habits to strengthen health outcomes. From there, care providers can give their energy to the next patient in need, quicker."

Visit Samaritan's website to learn more about they are working on!

The fall 2019 TRAILS Competition finalists were:

Description: The fall 2019 Cambia Grove TRAILS competition provides the winning startup evidence-based research to support the advancement of their health care product.

The challenge this competition aims to solve was sourced from a survey of 60 primary care clinics. The survey asked two main questions: 

  1. What are your immediate pain points?
  2. What are your long term hopes for the future of health care?

The winning startup of the fall 2019 TRAILS Competition will be selected after multiple rounds of judging by representatives from the 5 Points of Health Care™ (patients, providers, payers, purchasers and policy makers), investors and other professionals that support the health startup community.  


Pain points that clinicians face in their day-to-day work include inaccurate data and inconvenience of additional steps as they interact with various technologies. The fall 2019 TRAILS competition seeks solutions that will result in the accurate and efficient use of data to improve clinic workflow, enhance patient engagement and to reduce clinician burnout.


  • First Place Prize 
    • The winner will receive evidence-based research services* from PCI-Lab worth $25,000. 

*See FAQs for the list of potential services. The winner will have an introductory meeting with the PCI-Lab to determine which prize is most applicable. 

  • All ten semi-finalists receive a package of feedback from the first and second rounds of judging


  • Investable company or organization
  • Company or product has not won the TRAILS Competition in the last five years
  • Solution relevant to the U.S. health care market
  • Product should be at least a minimum viable product and/or a prototype in its development

Judging Criteria

  • Impact of innovation on the health care system
    • Improves patient and family engagement
    • Inclusive and accessible to diverse populations
    • Improves interaction between patient and provider
    • Improves quality within the clinic
    • Reduces costs within the clinic
    • Improves operational efficiency between payers and providers
  • Impact of product to alleviate data inaccuracies and reduce clinician burnout
    • Reduces data inaccuracies
    • Reduces time spent on data entry
    • Increases and improves the time clinicians spend with patients
    • It will easily be integrated into the health care system
    • Improves workflow within the clinic
    • Improves clinician and administrator job satisfaction
  • Product has a strong business case
    • Product has a competitive advantage 
    • Product is scalable
    • Product has proof of efficacy

Terms and Conditions

  1. Startup and product must be eligible to participate.
  2. Startup and product must not have won the TRAILS Competition in the past five years. 
  3. Applications will not be accepted after the deadlines posted.
  4. All finalists must be present for pitch event on November 14, 2019 at the World Congress Reducing Physician Burnout Summit in Arlington, VA. Travel expenses will not be reimbursed. 
  5. Winning team will be announced at the end of the pitch event.
  6. The winning team will be expected to come to University of Washington Medicine's Primary Care Innovation Lab for an onsite orientation within six weeks of November 15, 2019, unless this is impractical for some applicants. Orientation will include a discussion to determine which prize is most beneficial and feasible for the winning company/product, as well as an overview of expectations, introduction to resources, and administration requirements. For applicants who would benefit from additional team members, we will arrange match-making opportunities during this visit. Travel funding is not available. 
  7. Winning team will participate in promotional activities regarding the TRAILS Competition.
  8. PCI-Lab services must be completed within 12 months of the announcement of the winner.


What is the prize? Evidence-based research to support the advancement of their health care product in the form of one of the following services from PCI-Lab.

The winning startup will rank the following prizes from most to least desirable prior to meeting with the PCI-Lab for the introductory meeting. During this meeting, the PCI-Lab team members will discuss the options with the startup, and PCI-Lab will make the decision for the winning service based on the startup’s rankings and which service is most feasible with the winning product. 

  1. Usability testing with 5-10 clinicians. This may include cognitive walkthroughs, interviews, or a focus group. 
  2. Development of an evidence generation plan. The winning company must provide all evidence collected to date. The PCI-Lab will assess the provided materials and will create a report with recommendations for the necessary metrics needed to effectively demonstrate the value proposition to clinicians and other health care stakeholders. This may include study design recommendations on how to effectively capture variables such as provider time, effort and burnout. 
  3. Development of a detailed, focused literature review to determine the evidence that exists to date related to one or more aspects of their innovation. For example:
    • To help the startup demonstrate the scale of the problem they are trying to address, PCI-Lab may conduct a literature review on the size, magnitude, and reach of the stated problem in the provider care context.
    • A literature could also be focused on summarizing the innovations to date to help the winning company articulate their differentiation points. 
  4. Shadowing of clinicians to understand workflow barriers and current practices with EPIC in one provider care clinic. This may include  

What is Primary Care Innovation Lab (PCI-Lab)?  The Primary Care Innovation Lab is a Center based within the University of Washington Department of Family Medicine and is the number one-rated primary care program in the country according to US News and World Report. PCI-Lab’s mission is to accelerate the design, implementation and productive use of technology that has the potential to improve primary care practice and patient health through cutting-edge research and synergistic partnerships. PCI-Lab aims to bring industry, clinical and academic stakeholders together to accelerate the research and development of emerging technologies to improve health care delivery, reduce disease burden and control health care cost growth.

How can PCI-Lab help you?  PCI-Lab can help you garner rigorous, independently collected evidence to enable your startup to get the validation you need to move you through the development cycle. For evidence to be reliable and informative, data should be systematically collected and analyzed using robust and validated methods. PCI-Lab does this.

What does evidence-based research mean?  Health innovations are often created based on individual experiences and/or anecdotal evidence. Evidence-based research, which leads to evidence-based innovation, is the purposeful application of rigorously collected and analyzed data from multiple sources to inform the design and application of an innovation at all stages of development.

What is evidence-based innovation?  The idea of evidence-based health innovation is that good-quality innovation should be based on a combination of critical thinking, creativity and the best available evidence (aka evidence-based research). Evidence (or data) can come from many sources including talking with potential customers, observing user work flow, cost/benefit analysis, small trial, reading published literature, conducting a survey, or utilizing existing records. Although most innovators use some evidence in their decisions, many don’t have the access to robust, high-quality evidence.

Why is evidence-based research important?  Health innovations developed with poor or biased evidence can result in bad decisions, poor outcomes, and limited understanding of why things go wrong. The audience receptive to research-based evidence includes investors, policy makers, patients, providers, and health systems as they engage with promoting, adopting or using new health innovations.

What types of companies can apply?  Any investable company or organization with at least a minimum viable product and/or a prototype in its development.

What are considered primary care settings?  Primary care clinics, community settings such as pharmacies, nursing homes, assisted living and patients’ homes. Provider care is disease-agnostic, recognizing that comorbidities and acute/chronic care across the age span are the hallmark of health care delivery in these settings.

What about confidentiality?  Products and startups may be used in materials promoting the Cambia Grove TRAILS Competition. Finalists will pitch in front of a live audience. Winners may request a nondisclosure agreement with PCI-Lab.

What about my intellectual property?  There is no exchange of IP to participate in this competition.

What about equity?  No equity will be taken in exchange for prize money.

Can my startup submit more than one product?  Yes

Can I apply if I’ve received funding already?  Yes

Can I purchase additional time with PCI-Lab?  Winner may purchase additional time with PCI-Lab. Other companies may contact PCI-Lab to purchase their research services.

Who covers my travel expenses for the competition or subsequent meetings with PCI-Lab if I win?  Contestants and winner pay for all travel expenses.

Does participating in this competition open doors to UW Medicine practices?  While PCI-Lab is housed at University of Washington School of Medicine and its clinicians are affiliated with UW Medicine, PCI-Lab is an independent research center at UW and separate from UW Medicine. PCI-Lab has its own relationships and networks with clinics within UW Medicine, regionally through the WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho) Research and Practice Network and nationally. These networks may be engaged depending on the evidence needed. Working with PCI-Lab does not imply that your company will have an audience with UW Medicine leadership or have an endorsement from UW Medicine.

Will I have access to EHR records?  PCI-Lab will work with the winner to determine the best data to meet the company’s needs. If EHR records are deemed necessary, PCI-Lab will work with them to extract and analyze the data within the parameters of participating health systems. Raw data will not be available for the company’s direct use or for commercial purposes.

Will I have access to patients?  PCI-Lab will work with the winner to determine the best data to meet the company’s needs. If patient access is necessary, PCI-Lab will work with them to engage its network of clinics within UW Medicine, regionally through the WWAMI Research and Practice Network, and nationally, and to identify the best way to recruit patients and work with patients to generate evidence.

What are pain points that clinicians face in their day-to-day work that the challenge statement is referring to? Examples of problems we are hoping products will address include but are not limited to: the amount of time clinicians spend inputting data in EHRs, data extraction, access to EHR data, inaccurate data in EHR, and interoperability and patient sharing across different EHRs.

What is the network of 60 primary care clinics?
WWAMI region Practice and Research Network (WPRN) is a collaborative group of primary care practices in the WWAMI region committed to research and practice improvement. The WWAMI region consists of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.


Check out the winners of past TRAILS Competitions!


Spring 2019 TRAILS Competition

Congratulations to our Spring 2019 TRAILS Competition winner, BrainChild Technologies! They were selected by a panel of six judges during our finale pitch competition. BrainChild Technologies will be embedded for five consecutive days within Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and Seattle Children’s Hospital, all top ranking children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, participating in informational interviews and job shadowing activities.    



Our spring competition sought to find startups interested in improving the experiences of children and their families during times of urgent medical needs. Specifically, this competition sought solutions that accomplish two objectives:

  • Establish and maintain relationships and open lines of communication between patients and their providers.
  • Improve communication between primary care and specialist providers.

The hospital partners see the potential to greatly impact newborn development while offering BrainChild valuable provider feedback to refine their product even further. By partnering closely with hospital systems, innovators, and ultimately the patients, everyone is greatly benefited. We are thrilled to see BrainChild continue their success!

Check out News here

Spring 2018 TRAILS Competition