Joining the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge
Today RWJF has joined the 2010 Health 2.0 Developer Challenge by supporting three new challenges. Full details are available at health2challenge.org, but here’s a quick rundown:
First, we’ve launched a challenge related to the County Health Rankings work we’ve supported with the University of Wisconsin. That project provides population health status information (such as infant mortality rates, obesity rates) on every county in America and shows how each county ranks within its state. Despite all the attention the project has gotten, people don’t wake up each day and decide to look up county health. The trick is figuring out when – in what context – this information is useful. What types of decisions do people make where community health is highly relevant. Deciding where to live? Where to locate a business? What else? That’s the heart of the challenge – we’re looking to see creative solutions for integrating the data into other apps, web sites, etc. that people might use to help them with decisions.
Second, we’ve joined with the Markle Foundation on a “Blue Button” challenge. The Blue Button concept is about being able to download your medical records – why can’t we all log on to our providers’ sites and find a simple button that makes it so? The VA and CMS have committed to making this possible and as part of the challenge, CMS is making available sample data sets of what you would get when you clicked their blue button. The challenge we’ve posed is to develop apps that would run on top of the data sets that CMS will provide.
Separating the apps from the underlying personal health data is a key tenet of RWJF’s Project HealthDesign program, run by Patti Brennan’s team at the University of Wisconsin. Building on the work of Project HealthDesign is the subject of the third challenge, for which we’ve partnered with the California HealthCare Foundation. In the first round of the program, our grantees developed user-centered designs of different applications that used personal health data to support the day-to-day decisions and actions of people with a variety of health challenges, ranging from managing chronic pain to returning home from the hospital. For this challenge, we’re asking developers to build apps that can run on commercial personal health record services. In other words, take elements of the designs and make them real.
So … three challenges, and I’m really excited to see what we get. That’s the fun of all this – of course we might get nothing useful (or nothing at all), but as far as philanthropic ventures go, this is a relatively low-cost experiment and I’m hopeful that we’ll be see a lot of creative responses that we hadn’t expected. Moreover, we’re excited to learn about new ways of leveraging the investments we’ve already made and watch others add new value to them. Who knows, maybe we’ll find we need to be doing much more of this sort of thing. What do you think?