Calling All Innovators – Health Care Innovation Challenge Open for Great Ideas

Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services, through the Affordable Care Act, launched the Health Care Innovation Challenge, which will award $1 billion in grants to applicants who will implement the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health and improved care at lower costs to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)—particularly those with the greatest health care needs.

The Challenge is a signature initiative of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, and promises to catalyze new approaches that support health care delivery transformation. It offers an unprecedented opportunity for innovators and entrepreneurs who have been working tirelessly on new care improvement models but have often faced great difficulty bringing them to the patients who need them in today’s reimbursement environment. This Challenge will help us by:

  1. Identifying new ways of paying for health care that improve care at reduced cost and can be scaled nationally by CMS and the Department of Health and Human Services.
  2. Engaging a wide variety of innovators to help come up with new and promising ideas.  Interested parties of all types are welcome to apply.  Doctors, nurses and other care providers, hospitals, health systems, payers, technology entrepreneurs and other private sector organizations, faith-based organizations, local governments, and public-private partnerships are some of the professionals and organizations we expect to apply.  In addition, certain organizations may apply as conveners to assemble and coordinate groups of participants.  
  3. Helping to create jobs. The Challenge gives priority to applicants that identify opportunities for job creation.  By rewarding public sharing and rapid deployment of such ideas, the Challenge will boost our ability to deliver on the promise of health care delivery innovation.  We also believe that by attracting top talent to the health care sector and identifying pathways for innovators to build rewarding careers in this industry, we will both solidify our position as the world’s most competitive healthcare workforce and also help strengthen the foundation for better health for our citizens well into the future.
  4.  Encouraging “enhanced infrastructure” to support more effective system-wide function.  In this context, we hope this Innovation Challenge will serve as a call to action for technology and data innovators to team with care innovators to propose solutions that can be implemented with speed and have the capacity to scale.
  5.  Promising smart answers fast. We need your “letters of intent” by December 19th, 2011, with full applications by January 27th, 2012. Winners will be awarded by March 2012 with three-year grants ranging from $1 million to $30 million.  

Some of the greatest transformations American healthcare has seen have come from sources outside its traditional boundaries — for example, health care has borrowed widely from the automotive, aerospace, and defense industries to innovate.  So please share this post far and wide to innovative thinkers in every corner of American industry – even to those who haven’t yet actively engaged in the health care delivery sector.  There’s never been a better time to innovate in health care – as more and more of the information required to power innovations that safeguard and improve health becomes available and accessible, and as the health care system begins to reward providers for keeping patients healthy and delivering value, not just volume.  Answer the Health Care Innovation Challenge, and play your part in improving the nation’s health care system by proposing new ideas that deliver better health and improved care at lower costs to people with Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP.

Aneesh Chopra is the United States Chief Technology Officer and Todd Park is the Chief Technology Officer at the Department of Health and Human Services
Related Topics: Economy, Health Care, Technology