Calling Developers to Close the Gap for Veteran’s Health Care

In high hopes of finding a creative solution to close the gap between the conflicts and redundancies present in current healthcare-plans of our respected Veterans, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is sponsoring an improved outcomes contest that calls all developers, researchers, and innovators. Rather than re-creating the interactive system used to distribute medicines, this challenge seeks a solution that addresses the delayed interactions in the current model and actually contributes to the current electronic health record by modifying it and making it easily accessible to all users.

The contest itself is broken into two different phases, Phase I and Phase II, and the winning team can win up to $200,000. Phase I requires a written description of the original algorithm and slide deck with a focus on the methods of the problem solving. Five semifinalists will each receive $5,000 and move forward to Phase II in which they will produce a prototype. Prospective applicants – in at least teams of two – must register for Phase 1 by Monday, July 13, 2015.

As there is no current model or foundation for this problem space, the VA is interested in seeing all of the possibilities of the different algorithms including methods and processes for the potential solution. The topic parameters for this contest are pretty broad; however, the solutions should focus on at least one of the following health concerns: chronic pain, mental health, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. In addition, the proposal submitted in Phase I should address the following care plan aspects: medications, physical therapies, home-health and inpatient nursing care plans, or counseling. More importantly, the solution should convey the conflicts and redundancies within the care system itself.

Applicants will be highly evaluated based on the potential of the solution to resolve the care coordination issue, implementation of the solution in the future, and lastly on creativity and innovation. It is important to remember that the VA is seeking a wire frame approach, rather than a fully developed interface.

Ultimately, this contest is designated for those seeking to bridge the gap between technology and healthcare to create a more unified and efficient system. The VA is taking the first step towards reducing interactions between multiple clinicians and each Veteran. If successful, such a plan of care can be implemented in the future and ultimately simplify and advance the more current and general health care system.

For a detailed overview of the contest, including future dates, entry instructions, and grading criteria, please visit our website here.

Start the innovative process and apply for Phase I by Monday, July 13th.

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