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Research & Innovation

Health IT Prizes & Challenges

In September 2009, President Obama released his Strategy for American Innovation, calling for agencies to increase their ability to promote and harness innovation by using policy tools such as awards and competitions. The America Competes Act, passed in December 2010, permits any agency head to “carry out a program to award prizes competitively to stimulate innovation.” With this authority, The Office of The National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) created the Investing in Innovation (“i2”) program.

ONC believes that competitions have a number of potential benefits. Under the right circumstances, they allow the government to:

  • Establish an important goal without having to choose the approach or the team that is most likely to succeed;
  • Pay only for results;
  • Increase the number and diversity of the individuals, organizations, and teams that are addressing a particular problem or challenge of national or international significance;
  • Stimulate private sector investment that is many times greater than the cash value of the award; and
  • Further a Federal agency’s mission by attracting more interest and attention to a defined program, activity, or issue of concern.

The competitions, also referred to as health IT developer contests, focus on innovations that support (1) the goals of HITECH and clearing hurdles related to the achievement of widespread health IT adoption and meaningful use, (2) ONC’s and HHS’ programs and programmatic goals, and (3) the achievement of a nationwide learning health system that improves quality, safety, and/or efficiency of health care.

Please visit the Investing in Innovation site maintained by Health 2.0 to view and register for ONC challenges. Health IT developer contests are also cross-posted on Challenge.gov.

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Please refer questions or comments regarding prizes and challenges to Adam Wong, Management & Program Analyst, at adam.wong@hhs.gov.