Wednesday, December 05, 2012

RWJF Announces $200,000 Developer Challenge

Winning software developers will receive cash awards to create game applications to improve personal and community health

Princeton, N.J. – The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has announced an Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) $200,000 Games to Generate Data Challenge—a competition among technology developers to create game applications that generate useful health care quality data to improve health and health care.

The Games Challenge is the second in a series of innovation competitions sponsored by the Foundation through its Aligning Forces initiative. The first “app challenge” focused on creating applications to improve patient access to health care quality information. In this new Game Challenge, competing developers will build upon data from RWJF’s Aligning Forces initiative, County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, and other databases to create game applications that engage patients and health providers in generating new quality data.

Gamification has been an increasingly hot topic in the health space. The features of computer and video games—advanced graphics, stunning realism, immersive interactivity, structured challenges—offer unique solutions to a variety of health and health care issues. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has historically supported research into the potential of games to improve health and health care. 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 Game Challenge, therefore, requires participating developers to provide a means for the data generated to be directed toward health care improvement. In playing the developed game applications, participants will be competing or collaborating to improve personal health while simultaneously contributing to the overarching goal of maximizing their community’s health.

“We’re looking for some epic wins with this Game Challenge,” said Michael W. Painter, J.D., M.D., senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Improving community health care is difficult work in the real world. It takes a range of skills, knowledge, and intense collaboration. A game approach could help players learn about collaborating to improve health care. Good games can prompt us to engage in good causes, learn new behaviors and skills, and make a range of decisions to win. We’re hoping to get some great games from this challenge, games that will also generate important information about improving health care in real communities.”

The Aligning Forces Game Challenge will be conducted in two phases. Phase one is an open ideation phase for interested developer teams to submit application concepts. In phase two, the top five developer teams from phase one will build upon their initial proposals and create working game applications. The developer of the winning game app will receive $100,000. The second place winner will receive $50,000, and the third place winner will be awarded $25,000.

Winners will be announced in September 2013 and the first place winner will present at the annual Fall Health 2.0 Conference later that month. Developers can learn more and register for the challenge at The deadline for entry submission for phase one is January 27, 2013.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable, and timely change. For 40 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. Follow the Foundation on Twitter or Facebook.

About Health 2.0: Health 2.0--The conference. The media network. The Innovation Community. The Health 2.0 Conference is the leading showcase of cutting-edge technologies in health care, including Online Communities, Search and lightweight Tools for consumers to manage their health and connect to providers online. The Health 2.0 Developer Challenge is a series of prize competitions promoting health technology innovation. Health 2.0 also has its own media channels, Health 2.0 News and Health 2.0 TV; its own market intelligence service, Health 2.0 Advisors; and also sponsors the Health 2.0 Accelerator industry consortium. Health 2.0 was founded by Indu Subaiya & Matthew Holt in 2007 and is now a community of hundreds of organizations and thousands of innovators. For more information, see

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