UMD’s Smith School Launches Collegiate Challenge for Healthcare IT Innovation

The Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland is challenging students nationwide to develop solutions that radically improve healthcare outcomes by using information technology to improve patient engagement with health care providers.

Led by the Smith School’s Center for Health Information and Decision Systems (CHIDS), the “Innovate 4 Healthcare Challenge” will culminate in an April 20, 2012 final round of presentations at the Smith School’s Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center campus in Washington D.C.

Universities nationwide have been invited to enter teams of as many as five members to compete for a $20,000 first prize and a pair of $5,000 runner-up prizes.

“Healthcare is one of the most pressing challenges facing our country today,” said Ritu Agarwal, professor and dean’s chair of information systems and director of CHIDS. “We must innovate to leverage the power of new technologies to improve healthcare quality and reduce costs.”

“This is a unique opportunity to leverage bright multi-disciplinary teams of students nationwide to think creatively about how we can merge technology, strategy and policy to deliver solutions that yield better patient connectivity with their clinicians and thereby improve health and wellness,” said competition director Kenyon Crowley, director of health innovation at the University of Maryland.

Teams will present a solution to benefit patients with identified and demonstrable improvements in health outcomes. Competitors, who have until Feb. 24 to register and March 6 to submit a plan, will devise a patient-centered, health care business model that facilitates interaction between patients and their health care professionals. The solution may use, but is not limited to, tools, processes and technologies such as:

  • Web and other digital platforms
  • Smartphones, tablet and related apps
  • Short Message Service (SMS) and Multimedia Message Service (MMS)
  • Bluetooth/ANT/WiFi/3G-enabled health accessories such as pedometers and glucose meters
  • Social media
  • Remote monitoring and automated decision support
  • Personal health records

“The prospects for technology interventions to address trends such as a growing population, reduced number of health care providers and underserved markets are robust,” Crowley said. “Although there is a pressing need for patient-centered health care, a missing link is a breakthrough solution that has a compelling market strategy.”

Competing teams will provide specific ideas to improve patient-provider engagement, which could be related to one of the following:

  • Managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, cancer, mental health disorders, etc.
  • Acute events such as surgery, and including the exchange of information and activities prior to and after the procedure.
  • Major life-stage conditions such as pregnancy, aging, etc.

The winners will best combine an innovative idea, an excellent market strategy and an outstanding presentation to demonstrate most convincingly an attractive opportunity to improve healthcare.

The challenge is supported by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc. An informational webinar will be held 5 p.m. Feb. 3. For more information, visit or contact Kenyon Crowley at 919-649-2279 or