Health IT

Which of these 8 ideas to transform healthcare will Robert Wood Johnson Foundation fund?

competitionImproving health literacy and patient engagement and developing alternative ways to appraise apps and physicians are among the ideas that have reached the finals of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation competition. The people and companies behind these ideas are vying for the opportunity to get funding as part of a program to fund transformative innovations in healthcare.

Among the judges are Angel investor Esther Dyson (@edyson), PatientsLikeMe Co-Founder and President Ben Heywood (@patientslikeme), Rhode Island School of Design President John Maeda (@johnmaeda), IDEO Life Sciences Chief Strategist Rodrigo Martinez (@rodrigoatcg), Games for Health Co-Founder Ben Sawyer (@bensawyer), Fast Company Staff Writer Ben Schiller (@btschiller) and NPR Science Correspondent Shankar Vedantam (@hiddenbrain).

The eight finalists will present their ideas next month At AppNexus’ headquarters. Here’s a brief summary of the finalists and their pitches.

Just say no to communication breakdown Fred Trotter of Not Only Development wants to improve the flow of medical information. That includes improving health literacy by helping people better understand their healthcare, which can lead to increased engagement and adherence. He also wants to ensure primary care physicians have access to specialist topics and wants to make it easier for specialists to disseminate advances in their respective fields. He’s tight-lipped as to how — you’ll have to wait for the pitch. With useful tools like PubMed, JAMA and New England Journal of Medicine, it’s curious where he sees the problem, but I’m curious to hear more.


Mapping human exposome  You’ve probably heard about the project to successfully map the human genome but what about the human exposome? Elise Miller of Collaborative on Health and the Environment wants to catalog environmental exposures starting from conception, from nutritional to chemical exposures and more. The goal? To help healthcare professionals reduce risk and prioritize prevention for their patients using electronic health records.

Reducing medical errors Sarah Henrickson Parker, Allan Fong and Raj Ratwani of MedStar Health want to reduce preventable medical errors. Their strategy entails identifying and targeting social influencers within a healthcare system, and using their influence to improve safety.

Shaking up cancer screening Laura Esserman, Margaret (Peggy) O’Kane and Clarence So of Athena Breast Health Network, National Committee for Quality Assurance and Salesforce aren’t impressed with the the effort to reduce false positives in cancer screening, overdiagnosis or potential overtreatment. They want to develop a new, risk-based screening approach.

Making asset allocation for medical device development more democratic Alex Fair, who runs the crowdfunding website MedStartr, wants to increase the public’s voice on what medical devices get research funding. As a template for doing this, he wants to scale up a government-sponsored contest Medstartr ran to get public input on where $40,000 in taxpayer money should be invested.

New physician ratings system Tara Bishop of Weill Cornell Medical College’s proposal, MD 360, would develop a new approach to rating doctors that would be more objective. It involves compiling available information on objective measures of quality, reputation among peers, and websites like Yelp, Healthgrades, and Vital Signs.

Mobile health app evaluation Bianca Frogner of George Washington University wants to develop a rapid evaluation system that establishes standard metrics, and integrates expert and user experience, download statistics, rate of return measures, and spatial search patterns. Happtique, when it was under the leadership of Ben Chodor, developed a certification system for vetting apps. Frogner’s evaluation system would use tools from economics and engineering to do the vetting.

Crowdsourcing lifestyle experiments Christopher T. Robertson of University of Arizona/Harvard Law School wants to create a platform that taps social networks to enroll millions of people in large-scale randomized experiments. It would use mobile phones, apps, and linked devices such as cameras, activity monitors, and scales, to collect data and provide feedback and encouragement. Citizen-scientists would design their own studies, within a rigorous safe, scientific, and ethical environment. It could change the way we look at data gathering for clinical trials or it might be a data security advocate’s worst nightmare.

[Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos user renjith krishnan]

Elise Miller

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