Foundation Announces $100,000 Developer Challenge

Winning software developers will receive cash awards to create apps enabling people to easily access information comparing the quality of care provided by local doctors and hospitals.

    • October 28, 2011

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has announced an Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) $100,000 "app challenge"—a competition among technology developers to create easy-to-use online tools that help consumers find information on the quality of their local physicians and hospitals.

In the RWJF Aligning Forces app challenge, competing developers will create applications for various devices including smartphones or iPads that will allow consumers to easily access and experience comparative information about the quality of care provided in various regions of the country. Data to fuel the app will come from RWJF’s Aligning Forces for Quality initiative, the Foundation's signature effort to improve the quality of health care in 16 targeted communities nationwide.

Aligning Forces community alliances have already developed publicly available online reports that provide information about the quality of care delivered in their local communities. Reports include quality measures for care delivered for conditions such as diabetes—like whether patients were given the tests and procedures that medical evidence shows is best for their condition—and the safety of local hospitals. Participating developers will help make the consumer experience with these existing data more dynamic, interactive and consumer-friendly than when information is simply displayed on a website.

Numerous surveys show that people are uncertain about the quality of the health care they receive and increasingly seek health information online to support their medical decision-making. In a poll RWJF commissioned Harvard's School of Public Health to conduct in April 2011, 55 percent of American adults surveyed barely gave the quality of American health care a passing grade—a C or D on a standard report card scale.

"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," said Michael W. Painter, JD, MD, senior program officer at RWJF. "Using apps to make information more readily available has the power to transform health care."

The Aligning Forces app challenge will be conducted in two phases. Phase one is an open challenge for interested developer teams to create and submit new applications using Aligning Forces data. In phase two, the developer teams will work with AF4Q communities to further refine their applications with independent judges, including leaders and patients from Aligning Forces communities, selecting finalist developers from phase one contestants. The developer of the winning app will receive $100,000. The second place winner will receive $25,000, and the third place winner will be awarded $5,000.

Winners will be announced in June 2012. Developers can learn more and register to enter the challenge at http://www.health2challenge.org/?p=6506. The deadline for entry submission for phase one is December 31, 2011.


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 www.rwjf.org.

About Health 2.0: Health 2.0—The conference. The media network. The Innovation Community. The Health 2.0 Conference is the leading showcase of cutting-edge technologies in health care, including Online Communities, Search and lightweight Tools for consumers to manage their health and connect to providers online. The Health 2.0 Developer Challenge is a series of prize competitions promoting health technology innovation. Health 2.0 also has its own media channels, Health 2.0 News and Health 2.0 TV; its own market intelligence service, Health 2.0 Advisors; and also sponsors the Health 2.0 Accelerator industry consortium. Health 2.0 was founded by Indu Subaiya and Matthew Holt in 2007 and is now a community of hundreds of organizations and thousands of innovators. For more information, see www.health2con.com.