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Reducing health disparity with open innovation

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Despite tremendous improvements in healthcare around the world, there are still, sadly, large degrees of variance in the quality of care between locations, both within nations and internationally.

It’s far too common for citizens in certain communities to be poorly served by their healthcare markets, which often manifests itself in higher obesity levels, poorer access to healthy foods and challenges accessing health services.

The Aetna Foundation believe that IT can play a major role in overcoming these challenges, and they’ve launched the Innovating for the Underserved open innovation challenge to bring new ideas to the table.

The aim of the competition is to unearth and enlist some of the best ideas from healthcare IT to reduce some of the disparities that exist, thus helping to better meet the needs of a thus far underserved market.

There are three key areas that the challenge is looking to address:

  1. Better access to services – especially to improve information about opening hours and eligibility, logistics and language issues.
  2. Childhood obesity – with a focus on reducing the age and racial disparities that exist in society.
  3. Connecting data across and between systems – arguably the toughest of the challenges, as huge investment has been made, often into proprietary systems that don’t talk to one another.

If an innovation is selected as a winner of phase 1 of the competition, they can win $5,000.  Progression to phase 2 opens up a further $60,000 in potential prize money, with the final winner announced on the 6th October 2015.

Find out more about the challenge and enroll here.

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