Tuesday, November 1, 2011

RWJF's App Challenge

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) just announced their “Aligning Forces for Quality” (AF4Q) $100,000 “app challenge”. The competition is being conducted among technology developers to create easy-to-use online tools to help consumers find information on the quality of their local physicians and hospitals.

The winning software developers will receive cash prizes to create apps that will enable others to easily access information comparing the quality of care provided by local doctors and hospitals in various regions in the country. The first prize will be $100,000, second place will receive $25,000, and the third place winner will receive $5,000.

Numerous surveys show that people are uncertain about the quality of healthcare they receive and increasingly seek health information online to support their medical decision-making. In April 2011, RWJF commissioned Harvard’s School of Public Health to conduct a poll which concluded that 55 percent of American adults surveyed barely gave the quality of American healthcare a passing grade—a C or D on a standard report card scale.

“Choosing the right doctor or hospital is one of the most important healthcare decisions a consumer will make, yet many consumers don’t know where they can find information to help inform their decisions and improve their communications with doctors,” said Michael W. Painter, J.D., M.D, Senior Program Officer at RWJF.

The app challenge will be done in two phases. Phase one is an open challenge for interested developer teams to create and submit new applications using Aligning Forces data. In phase two, the developer teams will work with AF4Q communities to further refine their applications with independent judges by selecting finalist developers from phase one contestants.

Winners will be announced in June 2012. For more information and to register for the challenge, go to www.health2challenge.or/?p=6506. The deadline for entry submission of phase one is December 31, 2011.