Monday, April 13, 2009

RWJF Issues Call for Proposals

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has issued a call for proposals through the national program “Project HealthDesign: Rethinking the Power and Potential of Personal Health Records.” The goal is for grant recipients to observe patients in their daily living so that patients and physicians can better manage chronic illnesses. The project will work with clinical partners and patients dealing with two or more chronic conditions.

Up to $2.4 million is available in this second round of funding to go to as many as five grantee teams for 24 month demonstration projects. Grants may total up to $480,000 each. Funded teams will work closely with patients and providers across different care settings.

Led by a national program office based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the teams will demonstrate how health data obtained from everyday life such as eating meals, sleeping exercising, having pain episodes, and observing moods need to be interpreted, and integrated into the clinical care process.

Launched in 2006, the Project HealthDesign supported a number of novel applications to work in tandem with personal health records so that patients could better manage their health. Nine multidisciplinary teams, supported through the first round of funding, created a broad range of innovative IT tools to help with specific but complex self management tasks. Patients want to communicate better with healthcare providers by using technologies that are or could seamlessly become part of their daily routines.

According to Stephen Downs, S.M., Assistant Vice President of RWJF’s Health Group, “This information can help clinicians understand their patients better, understand how a treatment is working and then adjust the treatment accordingly. Technology has advanced enough that we can contemplate real breakthroughs in how to work with patients that suffer from chronic diseases.”

“When it comes to patients being active managers of their own health and healthcare, we learned that it is not just important to record observations from the clinical experience, but also to make personal observations of health as we go about our daily lives,” said Director Patricia Flatly Brennan R.N., PH.D., Professor of Nursing and Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She continued to say “Information about how you feel and what you experience on an ongoing basis needs to be easily integrated into clinical processes because these observations reveal trends that enable care to be vastly improved and tailored to the patients’ realities.”

Applicants for this round of funding may be either public entities, or nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt and are not private foundations. For more information on the call for proposals, go to

On April 29th and May 7th, optional web conference calls for potential applicants will be held. Deadline for receipt of brief proposals is June 3rd and on July 20th, select applicants will be notified if they are invited to submit a full proposal. The deadline for the full proposal is September 1st.