Wednesday, December 12, 2012

RWJF Announces $200,000 Challenge

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) just announced that winning software developers will receive $200,000 in cash awards to create game applications to improve personal and community health. The developer of the winning game app will receive $100,000, the second place winner $50,000, and the third place winner will receive $25,000.The games challenge is the second in a series of app competitions sponsored by the Foundation through their Aligning Forces for Quality initiative.

The first “app challenge” focused on creating applications to improve patient access to healthcare quality information. In this new Game Challenge, competing developers will build upon data from RWJF’s “County Health Rankings & Roadmaps” program, and other databases to create game applications that engage patients and health providers in generating new quality data.

“Gamification” has been an increasingly hot topic in the health space. The features of computer and video games, with advanced graphics, stunning realism, immersive interactivity, and structured challenges offer unique solutions to a variety of health and healthcare issues.

Early research consistently indicates that well-designed and well-implemented games can motivate and support wellness, lifestyle behavior changes, self-care, clinical care, adherence to treatment plans, and self management of chronic conditions.

The Games Challenge requires participating developers to provide a means for the data generated to be directed toward healthcare improvement. In playing the developed game applications, participants will be competing or collaborating to improve personal health while simultaneously contributing to the overarching goal of maximizing their community’s health.

The Game Challenge will be conducted in two phases. Phase one is to come up with ideas for interested developer teams and then submit application concepts. In phase two, the top five developer teams from phase one will build upon their initial proposals and create working game applications. 

Winners will be announced in September 2013 and the first place winner will present at the annual Fall Health 2.0 Conference to be held later that month. Developers can learn more and register for the challenge at The deadline for entry submission for phase one is January 27, 2013.