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App contest offers big bucks for better healthcare data


By Maureen McKinney
Posted: December 7, 2012 - 2:30 pm ET
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A $100,000 cash prize is up for grabs from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for the software developer who can craft the best game application that generates healthcare quality data.

The Princeton, N.J.-based philanthropic organization launched the challenge as part of its Aligning Forces for Quality program, a 6-year-old initiative targeting healthcare improvement in 16 communities across the U.S. Data from the winning game applications will be incorporated into the Aligning Forces data set, the foundation said.

"Early research consistently indicates that well-designed and well-implemented games can motivate and support prevention, lifestyle behavior change, self-care, clinical care, adherence to treatment plans and self-management of chronic conditions," the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said in a news release.

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Submissions are due Jan. 27, 2013. The foundation plans to choose five finalists from among the entries; each finalist will receive $5,000. Winners are expected to be named in September, with first-, second- and third-prize recipients set to take home $100,000, $50,000 and $25,000, respectively.

"We're hoping to get some great games from this challenge, games that will also generate important information about improving healthcare in real communities," Dr. Michael Painter, the foundation's senior program officer, said in the release.

The foundation is not alone in its use of "app challenges" as part of an effort to promote better healthcare outcomes and awareness of public health issues. HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has launched a number of such contests, including one aimed at helping consumers determine their risk of heart attack and stroke and another aimed at promoting the use of the Blue Button technology, a one-click tool for downloading patient data.


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