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HHS Challenges Developers To Create Healthcare Apps

The myHealthyPeople competition will award prizes for software that supports the Department of Health and Human Services' Healthy People 2020 goals.
Health IT Boosts Patient Care, Safety
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Slideshow: Health IT Boosts Patient Care, Safety

Among the serious illnesses the Healthy People 2020 initiative will target are chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, which are responsible for seven out of every 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for 75% of the nation's health spending. Many of the risk factors that contribute to the development of these diseases are preventable.

"Too many people are not reaching their full potential for health because of preventable conditions," Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health, said in a statement. "Healthy People is the nation's roadmap and compass for better health, providing our society a vision for improving both the quantity and quality of life for all Americans."

Healthy People 2020 is the product of an extensive stakeholder feedback process that is unparalleled in government and health, HHS said. It integrates input from public health and prevention experts, a wide range of federal, state and local government officials, a consortium of more than 2,000 organizations, and the public.

More than 8,000 comments were considered in drafting a comprehensive set of Healthy People 2020 objectives. Based on this input, a number of new topic areas are included in the new initiative, including: adolescent health; blood disorders and blood safety; dementias, including Alzheimer's disease; early and middle childhood; genomics; global health; health-related quality of life and well-being; healthcare-associated infections; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health; older adults; preparedness; sleep health; and social determinants of health

Healthy People's challenge to application developers is to create easy-to-use applications for professionals who are working with the new national health objectives and state- and community-level health data. Prizes of $2,500, $1,000 and $500 will be awarded.

"This milestone in disease prevention and health promotion creates an opportunity to leverage information technology to make Healthy People come alive for all Americans in their communities and workplaces," Todd Park, HHS chief technology officer, said in a statement. "The 'myHealthyPeople' apps challenge will help spur innovative approaches to helping communities track their progress using Healthy People objectives and targets as well as develop an agenda for health improvement."

The closing date for application developers to submit their technology is March 7, 2011 and winners will be announced March 21, 2011.