Challenges

Role of Innovation in Addressing Social Determinants of Health

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Nearly a decade has passed since Healthy People 2020 positioned social determinants of health (SDoH) at the forefront of healthcare reform. As defined by the report, SDoH are the “conditions in the environment in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age, that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality of life outcomes.” Examples of social determinants include:

  • Resources to meet daily needs (e.g., safe housing and local food markets)

  • Educational, economic, and job opportunities

  • Community-based resources in support of community living and opportunities for recreational and leisure-time activities

  • Transportation

The ability to influence social determinants largely falls outside of the health care system’s reach. Therefore, a key to address opportunities for health involves collaboration between health care and different industries such as education, housing, and transportation. Both the public and private sectors have made significant efforts to bridge the gap between physical, mental, and social care by experimenting with non-traditional partnerships.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has spearheaded multiple programs with government agencies and community partners to achieve the goals outlined in Healthy People 2020. One of the most notable successes is the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, an initiative by the CDC with the Department of Housing & Urban Development and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Through housing rehabilitation, enforcement of housing and health codes, and partnerships with healthcare experts, the program helped Healthy People 2020 exceed their target of reducing blood lead level in children.

Other programs such as the “National Program to Eliminate Diabetes Related Disparities in Vulnerable Populations,” leveraged community partners and resources to increase food security, health literacy, and physical spaces for active living. In one of their projects, the program partnered with community health workers (promotoras) who spoke Spanish to engage with Hispanic/Latino communities where participation to Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) was low. The community health workers provided linguistically and culturally-sensitive materials that effectively increased participation in DSME among the targeted population. The outcomes from such initiatives have inspired more health and community organizations to work together to reduce health disparities.

Private health insurers have also joined the movement to influence SDoH as the shift towards value-based care incentivizes them to keep their beneficiaries healthy beyond clinical settings. Kaiser Permanente, which prides itself on helping their beneficiaries achieve total health, will launch their social care network Thrive Local to connect healthcare and social services providers. Thrive Local will be powered by Unite Us, a startup that helps providers refer social services, track outcomes, and collaborate care with community partners. Meanwhile, Blue Cross Blue Shield has invested nearly $40M into Solera Health to integrate social determinants data and resources into healthcare. Solera Health will use the funding to build out a network of digital health and social services providers and reimagine how health plans will pay social service providers. Both insurers are hopeful that the partnerships will promote better health outcomes and create a new care delivery model that effectively address social needs.  

Developers and innovators are encouraged to create technology that can support the integration of SDoH collaborations into healthcare. Those who are interested in this space and have a digital solution should apply to the “Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Social Determinants of Health Innovation Challenge,” which seeks novel technology that helps providers and/or patients connect to health services related to SDoH.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Digital tools that pull data from non-profit services to assist health systems in serving diverse patient populations on an ongoing basis

  • Apps for consumers that provide health information based on their community/location

  • Technology that harnesses governmental or open source data to create insights for healthcare providers to evaluate SDoH data and improve population health

In this multi-phase challenge, innovators are asked to submit tech-enabled solutions that account for SDoH. Subject matter experts will evaluate the entries and select the top five teams who will move onto Phase II. The five semi-finalists will be awarded $5,000 each to further develop their application or tool. Then, three finalists will be chosen at the end of Phase II to compete at a live pitch event! They will demo their technology in front of a captivated audience of investors, provider organizations, and members of the media at a prominent health conference. Judges will select the first, second, and third place winners live. Winners will be awarded $40,000 for first place, $25,000 for second place, and $10,000 for third place.

The challenge is open to innovators and companies at any stage of development. If you are interested in applying, the competition is now accepting Phase I applications and the deadline to submit is June 7th, 2019 11:59 PM EDT.

To learn more about the challenge, please visit the website. To sign up for updates on the challenge, please click here.

Healthcare is Coming Home

In an AARP survey of 2000 adults, 6 out of 10 respondents indicated they prefer to stay in their home and community for as long as possible. This desire increases with age; more than 75% of adults over 50 would rather remain in a familiar environment where they have strong connections to friends, neighbors, and businesses. However, for the elderly and people with chronic illness or disabilities, remaining at home can be difficult. These populations require services that are often provided at long term care facilities (e.g. nursing homes) and/or formal medical settings-- which can be costly, inconvenient, and inefficient. 

Individuals of all ages across the health spectrum have also expressed interest in receiving health services in the home or community as a means to access higher quality and convenient care. With consumer demand for patient-centered care, the U.S. healthcare system has steadily steered away from institutional services in favor of home and community-based services (HCBS). Since 2013, Medicaid expenditures for HCBS has continued to exceed spending for institutional services. HCBS now accounts for 55% of Medicaid Long Term Care spending.

As the largest payor for healthcare in the United States, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), is often the first to experiment and adopt new care delivery models. With Medicaid’s perceived benefits with HCBS, the CMS has also changed what is covered under Medicare Advantage (MA) to accommodate for the transition towards home and community based care. In 2018, CMS added “non-medical in-home care” as a supplemental benefit for 2019 MA plans. This year, CMS continued to broaden the range of supplemental benefits for MA 2020 to cover any benefits “that have a reasonable expectation of improving or maintaining the health or overall function” of beneficiaries with chronic conditions or illnesses.

In one short, powerful clause, CMS opens the gateway to address previously neglected factors such as the home, social environment, transportation, and more. of chronically ill patients. As listed in the announcement, items and services that are covered may include but are not limited to:

●     Meals furnished to the enrollee beyond a limited basis

●     Transportation for non-medical needs

●     Pest control

●     Indoor air quality equipment and services

●     Other benefits to address social needs

Health insurers and providers, especially home and community based care providers, are eager to take advantage of this addition. However, they need new ways to include such services in their care delivery. Unconventional care models, as well as novel technologies to support care delivery outside of medical institutions are essential. Therefore, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), in partnership with Catalyst @ Health 2.0, has launched the “Home & Community-Based Care Challenge,” to encourage developers to create solutions that support the advancement of at-home or community based health care. Examples include but are not limited to:  

●     coaching app to engage consumers with their healthcare

●     non-intrusive sensors for at home monitory of acute disease patients

●     apps to support caretakers with burnout

In this multi-phase challenge, innovators are asked to submit tech-enabled solutions addressing home and community based care. Subject matter experts will evaluate the entries and select the top five teams who will move onto Phase II. The five semi-finalists will be awarded $5,000 each to further develop their application or tool. Then, three finalists will be chosen at the end of Phase II to compete at a live pitch event! They will demo their technology in front of a captivated audience of investors, provider organizations, and members of the media at a prominent health conference. Judges will select the first, second, and third place winners live. Winners will be awarded $40,000 for first place, $25,000 for second place, and $10,000 for third place.

The challenge is open to innovators and companies at any stage of development. If you are interested in applying, the competition is now accepting Phase I applications and the deadline to submit is June 7th, 2019 11:59 PM EDT.

To learn more about the challenge, please visit the website. To sign up for updates on the challenge, please click here.

Announcing: New RWJF Innovation Challenges

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Health starts with where we live, learn, work, and play. In our shared commitment to building a culture of health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and Catalyst @ Health 2.0 are proud to launch the Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) and the Home & Community Based Care Innovation Challenges. We are seeking novel technologies that address conditions in communities and bring quality care to where people live. 

We invite you to join our fight to improve access to health resources and the chance to win your share of $100,000 in prizes! Finalists also have the opportunity to pitch their solutions live on stage at a prominent health tech conference.

For the SDoH Challenge, we are looking for digital solutions that help patients and/or providers connect to services related to Social Determinants of Health. Examples include but are not limited to: digital tools that help health systems serve diverse populations, apps for consumers that provide health information based on their community/location, or tools to improve health quality indoors. To learn more about the Social Determinants of Health Innovation Challenge, click here. To pre-register and receive the latest updates, click here

For the Home & Community Based Care Challenge, we would like to see creative technologies that support the advancement of at-home or community-based health care. Examples include but are not limited to: coaching app to engage consumers with their healthcare, non-intrusive sensors for at home monitory of acute disease patients, or apps to support caretakers with burnout. To learn more about the Home & Community-Based Care Challenge, click here. To pre-register receive the latest updates, click here

Applications open April 29th. All submissions are due June 7th, 2019 11:59PM EDT.

The SDoH Innovation and Home & Community Based Care Challenges are brought to you by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and powered by Catalyst @ Health 2.0.

Announcing the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Social Determinants of Health and Home & Community Based Care Innovation Challenges

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has partnered with Catalyst @ Health 2.0 to launch two innovation challenges on Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) and Home & Community Based Care. As a national leader in building a culture of health, RWJF is inspiring and identifying novel digital solutions to tackle health through an unconventional lens.

Health starts with where we live. As noted in Healthy People 2020 social determinants of health are, “conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age... [that] affect a wide range of health functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.” For example, children who live in an unsafe area cannot play outside making it more difficult for them to have adequate exercise. Differences in SDoH heavily influences communities’ well-being and results in very different opportunities for people to be healthy.

Despite our knowledge on SDoH, the current healthcare system utilizes care models that often fail to take into account the social and economic landscape of communities-- neglecting factors such as housing, education, food security, income, community resources, transportation and discrimination. Little progress has been made on incorporating SDoH into established health care frameworks. Healthcare providers and patients alike either have limited understanding of SDoH or have limited opportunities to utilize SDoH knowledge. RWJF established the “Social Determinants of Health Innovation Challenge” to find novel digital solutions that can help providers and/or patients connect to health services related to SDoH.

Home and community-based care is also important to enable Americans to live the healthiest lives possible. In-patient and long-term institutional care can be uncomfortable, costly, and inefficient. Digital health solutions in the home and community offer opportunities for care that better suit the patient and their loved ones. For example, innovations such as remote patient monitoring (RPM) have created new care models that allow the providers, caregivers, and patients to manage care where a person is most comfortable. RPM serves as a reminder that technologies in the home and community offer alternatives methods to engage the patient, increase access to care, and receive ongoing care. Therefore, RWJF is launching the “Home & Community-Based Care Challenge,” to encourage developers to create solutions that support the advancement of at-home or community-based health care.

The ultimate goal of both challenges is to foster innovations that help people live healthier lives and promote healthier, more equitable communities.

The challenges have two phases. In Phase I, innovators submit tech-enabled solutions addressing the challenge topic. Judges will evaluate the entries and the top five teams who will move onto Phase II. The five semi-finalists will be awarded $5,000 each to further develop their application or tool. Three finalists will be chosen at the end of Phase II to compete at a pitch event! They will demo their technology in front of a captivated audience of investors, provider organizations, and members of the media at a prominent health conference. Judges will select the first, second, and third place winners live. The grand prize winner will be awarded $40,000 for first place, $25,000 for second place, and $10,000 for third place.

With $100,000 in total prizes for each challenge and a number of promotional activities, we strongly encourage innovators to pre-register for the challenges and be notified when the applications open.

Check out the challenge websites below to learn more and make sure to pre-register for the RWJF Social Determinants of Health Innovation Challenge and/or the RWJF Home & Community Based Care Challenge to be notified when applications open on April 29th and submit your digital solution by June 7th.

To learn more about the Social Determinants of Health Innovation Challenge, click here. To pre-register for the challenge and receive the latest updates, click here.

To learn more about the Home & Community-Based Care Challenge, click here. To pre-register for the challenge and receive the latest updates, click here.