In the past 24 months, there has been a flurry of contests in digital health. The focus of these contests has invariably been the development of technologies to address one or more medical problems, whether they are in the diagnosis or treatment realms, or both. Some target specific diagnoses (http://mobihealthnews.com/8044/five-mobile-health-contests-you-should-know/). One contest is offering (http://www.qualcommtricorderxprize.org/) a prizes of $10M for the development of digital health tools which will significantly increase diagnostic accuracy and recommend treatments better than humans. One of the most intriguing contests to me was one offered by Elsevier ‘to researchers, medical professionals, librarians and students navigate scientific content, improve scientific search and discovery, visualize sophisticated data in more insightful and attractive ways and stimulate collaboration.” The ONC had a contest to develop healthcare IT applications which ease a patient’s transition from the hospital to the home. Another was aimed at developing technologies to help with the reporting of adverse events from medical devices.
I believe the biggest prize should go to a contest in which the prize goes to a technology whose sole purpose is to demonstrate the creation of a high degree of patient engagement. This will be a test of process itself. One may go even further with the Ultimate Prize Contest, which would be a contest aimed at technologies which would result in the previous endpoint as well as the quickest adoption of a comprehensive solution to a chronic illness, with the following qualifications: there is a rigorous clinical study demonstrating improved outcome with decreased cost, that a reimbursement strategy is designed and achieved, and that provider licensing and medical malpractice issues be addressed and a solution found.
Contests addressing the above processes which are barriers to adoption will be most impactful on the future of digital health. Certainly the other contests will yield fruitful results which will affect healthcare. However, the one which specifically addresses the barriers to adoption of digital technologies is the most valuable in my book.