Announcing the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Aligning Forces for Quality Challenge

Health 2.0 is honored to be working with RWJF and Aligning Forces for Quality  in its latest private online challenge.  

This past Friday, October 28, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched the first phase of its “app challenge” in partnership with the Aligning Forces for Quality initiative.  Phase I of the challenge will conclude on December 31, 2011, with phase II running through April 2012.

Aligning Forces is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s signature effort to lift the overall quality of health care in targeted communities, reduce racial and ethnic disparities and provide models for national reform.  The goal is for providers, patients and payers to work together toward common, fundamental objectives that lead to better care.

The innovation competition tasks technology developers to develop applications that will enhance consumer accessibility to information regarding the quality of care in their communities as well as information on how that care compares to care delivered elsewhere in the country.  Generally speaking, patients are uncertain about the quality of the care they receive and therefore increasingly turn to the web for support in their medical decision-making:

“Choosing the right doctor or hospital is one of the most important health care decisions a consumer will make, yet many consumers don’t know where they can find information to help inform their decisions and improve their communications with doctors,” claims Michael W. Painter, J.D., M.D., Senior Program Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Using apps to make information more readily available has the power to transform health care.”

Successful applications will be designed to walk patients through the decision-making process in much the same way that TurboTax guides users through the process of submitting tax filings.  Applications are expected to pool data from the Aligning Forces for Quality initiative, which consists of publicly available online reports on inpatient and outpatient health care measures. By integrating the data, the patient experience should become increasingly dynamic, interactive and consumer-friendly.

Phase I submissions will be judged on the following criteria: creativity and innovation; design, usability and intuitiveness of the application; potential impact to improve the quality of care for application users; effective integration of data from Aligning Forces sources. In phase II, submissions will also be judged on their ability to demonstrate real-world impact.

From the phase I submissions, five semi-finalists will be selected.  The semi-finalist teams will be invited to an Aligning Forces for Quality meeting in May 2012 to present their applications. In phase II, the semi-finalist teams will work with the Aligning Forces  communities, independent judges and patients to refine their applications. From the pool of semi-finalists, three winners will be selected and announced in June 2012. The team that develops the best application will receive $100,000 plus inclusion of the application on the sixteen Aligning Forces  sites and the opportunity to have lunch with Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the RWJF.  The second place winner will be awarded $25,000 and the third place winner $5,000.

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 improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For nearly 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. Learn more at

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