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The Maryland Health Innovation Student Challenge: Empowering Patients, Providers and Community with Creative + Usable Solutions 

The Maryland Health Innovation Challenge (Challenge) is founded on the belief that we can achieve a healthier world through more effective use of information.  The opportunity exists to use new systems and processes to prevent, diagnose, treat, and research disease.  In Maryland, health-related public budget spending costs at $10.4 Billion (FY14) accounts for over 25% of all state expenses.  Improving the health of the state can translate into large savings. Information is the lifeblood of the health system but the current system too often creates significant challenges to acquiring, coordinating, sharing, and managing health-related information.  We know that better coordination across clinical providers and patients, more activated and engaged patients, and increased use of appropriate data can yield positive returns to health, save lives, increase wellness, and reduce costs.  This opportunity may be accelerated through the design, adoption, and integration of health information technologies. What’s especially exciting is the range of new mobile devices, applications, and wireless sensors that can deploy care anywhere and may improve healthy behaviors, prevent hospital readmissions, and increase efficiencies.  However, a range of challenges exist in the use of these systems: patients may not use them, doctors may not know how best use these new data sources, many hospitals and clinical providers are struggling with the transition to electronic medical records, and systems do not communicate well with each other, for example. 

To further put context to mobile health solutions, examples follow that give some description of the broad concept. The expectation is that a student team responding to the Challenge would address a specific innovative solution that targets at least one of the following broadly defined categories: 

  • Solution that enables the management of chronic diseases (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, lung disease (COPD), cancer, and mental health disorders);
  • Solution structured around an acute care event (e.g., a surgery), including the exchange of information and activities prior to and following the event through to full rehabilitation;
  • Solution due to a major life stage (e.g., pregnancy and aging);
  • Solution that improves the flow of actionable, usable data to the groups that need it most, whether patients, providers, or policymakers; and
  • Solution the supports motivation, coordination, and/or choosing health activities.

The Challenge and opportunity is to derive a Solution (set of tools, processes, and technologies coupled with a business strategy) that may create improvements in patient and/or population health, program management, and/or a reduction in costs.

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