New Developer Contest – Create a Cancer Survivor Tool

Adam Wong and Abdul Shaikh | May 15, 2013

ONC and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are challenging app developers to create new tools to help cancer survivors. The new Crowds Care for Cancer: Supporting Survivors Challenge is asking app developers to create new tools meant to help survivors manage their care after they have completed cancer treatment.

HHS has had a series of developer contests that have spawned the creation of tools and apps to help patients and doctors better manage care. Some past app challenges include:

  • the Million Hearts Risk Check Challenge
  • the Blue Button Mash Up Challenge, and
  • the Ensuring Safe Transitions Challenge.

Cancer patients need more care coordination

The number of cancer survivors in the United States is currently estimated at 14 million people.[i] With improvements in cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment, as well as the aging of the United States, this number is expected to rise.

While celebrating advances in cancer care, there remains a need to help patients manage their health after they have completed their primary treatment. Cancer survivors experience a host of physical and psychosocial long-term and late effects of the disease, and it’s the treatment of this that requires coordinated follow-up care.

Despite significant progress in cancer treatment, the complex and often fragmented state of end-of-treatment care may lead to harmful breakdowns in patient-provider communication. This can result in unmet health care needs. Better communication, data exchange, and care coordination have been shown to help the patients.

Participate in the developer contest to help improve communication for cancer survivors

ONC and NCI are calling on app developers for innovative solutions to address specific challenges that cancer survivors encounter when managing their care.

The following examples illustrate just a few potential ideas that an app could address:

  • Help survivors use information from their providers and survivorship care plans to improve communication within their care teams (i.e., families, friends, and members of their primary and specialty care teams)
  • Address follow-up care needs such as helping patients track their medications and medication adherence, upcoming appointments, and healthy lifestyle recommendations
  • Implement key sources of health data and interoperability standards such as Blue Button+ ( Links Disclaimer).

We also encourage all app developer applicants to consider different ways to seamlessly integrate tools and information into the daily lives of patient. The intention is to help them in the communication and coordination of care with all members of their care team.

Win up to $30,000 in the Crowds Care for Cancer: Supporting Survivors Challenge
The Challenge will consist of two phases.

  1. Applicants will submit wireframes and supporting documentation that details the proposed functionality of their tool or application, and how these address the goals of the Challenge.
    At the end of Phase I, up to three applicants will be awarded $5,000 and will receive feedback and support to optimize their application proposal for promotion on MedStartr’s crowdfunding portal as they transition to Phase II.
  2. Phase I finalists will post relevant details of their application on MedStartr for public feedback and support.
    At the end of Phase II, the finalists will submit a functioning application to be judged for the $25,000 grand prize.

Enter this developer contest

To learn more about the Challenge and to enter a submission, please visit



[i] deMoor, J.S., Mariotto, A.B., Parry, C., Alfano, C.M., Padgett, L., Kent, E.E., Forsythe, L., Scoppa, S., Hachey, M., Rowland, J. H. (2013). Cancer Survivors in the United States: Prevalence across the Survivorship Trajectory and Implications for Care. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, 22(3): 561-70