Calling all innovators: Health 2.0 contest makes eHealth a priority

On Wednesday, officials at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and Health 2.0 announced the launch of a collaborative venture that aims to spur health information technology innovation among software developers. 

The Investing in Innovation (i2) Initiative competition seeks to foster the use of technology to drive improved health outcomes, officials say, driving patient participation in their own health and wellness data.  

The Health 2.0 Developer Challenge program is now accepting submissions for the new competition, the SMART-Indivo App Challenge. SMART (Substitutable Medical Apps, Reusable Technologies) is one of four Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP) funded by the ONC. 

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A healthcare system adapting to the effects of an aging population, growing expenditures and a diminishing primary care workforce needs the support of a flexible information infrastructure, officials say, which will ultimately facilitate innovation in wellness, health care and public health.

The SMART API challenge is a multidisciplinary call to IT innovators and software developers to create an Indivo application that provides value to patients using data delivered through the SMART API and its Indivo-specific extensions. The app will be either an HTML5 Web app or an iOS app that runs against the Indivo Developer Sandbox, where it can access patient demographics, medications, laboratory tests and diagnoses using Web standards.

Developers could, for example, build a medication manager, a health risk detector, a patient-friendly laboratory visualization tool or an app that integrates external data sources with patient records in real-time.

Officials say submissions will be evaluated on five parameters. These include: usefulness to patients, importance to clinical medicine or public health, interface and presentation, use of the Indivo and SMART APIs, and creative use of data from the sandbox and, optionally, from open health data sources. A review panel consisting of technical experts will evaluate the submissions.

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Submissions are due on September 28, 2012. Prizes total $13,000, with the first place team awarded $10,000. The first place winner will also present the winning solution at a national conference. For more details visit the SMART-Indivo App Challenge website.

"Health 2.0 is excited to be launching this new challenge," said Indu Subaiya, CEO and co-chair of Health 2.0. "The SMART-Indivo App Challenge is an interesting competition that embraces key Health 2.0 themes, including modularity, scalability and interoperability. Applications developed for this challenge will help individuals to manage their health and wellness information across a range of healthcare settings."