Technology for Healthy Communities Launches Today!
Health 2.0, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is proud to announce today’s kickoff of Technology for Healthy Communities, a digital health pilot program that facilitates technology adoption at the community level by tackling the most pressing local health issues. The inaugural program connects health technology innovators with 4 under-served communities across the U.S. with the goals of improving health outcomes and building sustainable partnerships.
Despite the booming digital health ecosystem with over $4B in investments in 2015, there are significant hurdles to adoption for local communities, including lack of community stakeholder engagement and lack of financial incentive/commercial business models for startups in the community health setting.1 While innovation challenges in digital health have introduced elements of matchmaking and short cycles of engagement, there has not been a rigorous model for testing and implementation that leads to sustainable adoption.
At the same time, we live in a healthcare climate where the U.S. health expenditure is over $3 trillion and our health outcomes lag behind those of other developed countries.2 We disproportionately spend less money on social services and more on healthcare and yet a large majority of what makes us sick can be attributed to the social determinants of health— factors such as socioeconomic status, availability of resources, education, employment and access to healthcare, that affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes.3, 4 Technology for Healthy Communities has the opportunity to catalyze the adoption and use of health technologies in communities in order to impact these social determinants, improve health outcomes and create business opportunities for technology companies.
Several communities across the U.S. applied to participate in Technology for Healthy Communities. Four under-served communities were selected to move forward with the program:
- Alameda County, California: Community Health Center Network
- Jacksonville, Florida: Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida, the City of Jacksonville and the Clinton Health Matters Initiative
- Spartanburg, South Carolina: Way to Wellville and the Mary Black Foundation
- Starr County, Texas: MHP Salud
Through an open application process, the Technology for Healthy Communities team will source health innovators across the U.S. that provide cutting edge solutions to the communities’ health needs. The specific technology needs identified by the participating communities can be found on the program website. Selected innovators will then be matched with communities to conduct pilots and implement sustainability plans with the ultimate goals of improving health outcomes in the community’s target population and developing a sustainable, commercial model. Successful participants will receive funding (there is up to $200,000 available in a funding pool to support pilots) and promotional opportunities to increase their visibility.The Technology for Healthy Communities team will provide pilot implementation guidance and work with the community and innovator pair to identify local commercial partners to sustain the technology adoption beyond the duration of the program.
The application process is now open to innovators who are looking to make a significant impact in under-served communities by implementing their technology solutions. If you are a health technology company, this is a unique opportunity to gain access to a vetted network of community organizations, guidance and funding from the Technology for Healthy Communities team, with the potential for commercial contracts and business development opportunities.
The deadline for innovator applications is May 17, 2016. To learn more about Technology for Healthy Communities and submit an application, visit communityhealthtech.org.