Innovate 4 Health

Empowering Patients, Providers and Community with Creative + Usable Solutions

Round One Submissions due by midnight April 3rd!

About the Challenge

The Maryland Innovate 4 Health 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 usable data can yield positive returns to health, save lives, increase wellness, and reduce costs.  What’s 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 such as they may not be easy to use, sharing data can be hard, and health can be difficult to understand. 

For the Challenge, students will create an 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. 

A proposed solution may include some, none or all of the components listed below. Some tools and technologies for potential use include:

  • Smartphone/tablet app;
  • SMS/MMS systems;
  • Wearable devices (e.g., FitBit, Nike FuelBand, Jawbone Up, Apple Watch, Microsoft Band);
  • Social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Google+);
  • Bluetooth/ANT/Wi-Fi/3G enabled health accessories (e.g. scale, pedometer, glucose meter);
  • Remote wireless monitoring and automated decision support;
  • Big/small data and analytical systems;
  • Robots;
  • Web-enabled technology (e.g., Smart TV);
  • Who knows???

With several trends foreseen (e.g., a growing aging population, reduced number of health care providers, new policies for keeping people well and underserved markets) as well as growing health care costs and fragmented access to information, information technologies can play a vital role in helping make caring for one's own health or that of a loved one better.  There have been a lot of software and apps made in the last few years. However, what’s lacking are major breakthrough ideas that question existing assumptions about the health system and offer novel and innovative solutions to this issue.

In order to be successful, the team's solution should also be sustainable through an appropriately crafted business strategy. 

The Deliverables for the Team Include:

  1. A PowerPoint or other program slide deck (maximum of 10 slides) and an Executive Summary (maximum of 4 pages) that contains a solution description documenting the following: solution rationale, health condition(s) targeting, user stories, description of clinical need, description of technology, and a potential commercialization strategy / business model. The business model should cover how the solution will attract customers and be covered and paid for with possibilities ranging for consumer out-of-pocket payment, reimbursement, advertising, or other revenue streams. The technology commercialization strategy should address issues concerning the approach to development and manufacturing.
  2. A prototype of the proposed solution. It would be great to have a functional prototype, such as one that runs on a smartphone, but it does not have to be a functional system—it may be a “mock-up” or diagram demonstrating the capabilities and workflow.
  3. Students may optionally choose to include a link to a short video (maximum of 5 minutes) that describes their solution.


Teams formed and receive mentors: January - 15 March, 2015

1st Round Submissions: Midnight, April 3, 2015 (Send the deliverables noted above in a single email with ROUND ONE SUBMISSION in the subject line to

Finalists announced: April 2015

Final round and award ceremony:  June 4, 2015


Glory, and $2,000 for best high school team; $2,000 for best university team, and $500 to 2 runners up, $250 for 4th place.


The competition is open to all high school and post-secondary students enrolled at an accredited Maryland high school or college. To be eligible, the student must be registered for at least one course in the Spring 2015 semester. Students enrolled in a Maryland DLLR EARN health technology workforce development program or Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) funded Workforce Development Program are also eligible.

Intellectual Property and Media Release

Student teams retain all intellectual property rights to their innovations.  Team members or Parents of team members if student is under 18 years old will need to sign a media release form, so that Challenge Organizers may take photos and record audio/video images of Participant, to use them, and to reveal or use Participant’s name in connection with them, for educational and/or promotional purposes. 

Team Composition

Each team will be composed of up to 10 students from eligible schools. Students from multiple high schools can partner.

Challenge Structure

The Challenge will be divided into two rounds. All registered teams will submit the Deliverables to the organizers for initial evaluation by April 3rd at midnight. A panel of expert judges will evaluate the responses based on the judging criteria listed below. Up to eight teams will be invited to attend the final round at the Maryland Health IT Conference and Expo being held June 4th, 2015.  We expect to select finalists from across Maryland. Finalists will be required to present (up to 10 minutes) the solution and business strategy at the Expo.

External Resources and Input

Teams will be provided with mentors from the Maryland health technology community. Teams may also receive advice and guidance from faculty, mentors, and third-party consultants. All experts consulted for the solution must be clearly documented in a Works Cited section at the end of the slide deck. Each team is allowed to reference and use an unlimited number of books, magazines, newspapers, compendiums, readers, collections of articles, and publicly available Internet resources.

Scoring and Judging Criteria

Potential of solution to improve health and/or reduce costs: 50

Innovation/originality: 20

Prototype design: 15

Quality of presentation: 15  


To signup for the Challenge, please send an email to with "CHALLENGE SIGNUP" in the subject line. In the email, please include your name, team members name, school, and school address.


Please send an email Kenyon Crowley at if you have any questions about the Challenge.

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