HEALTH APP CHALLENGES

crookedabidingMobile - Wireless

Nov 12, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)

91 views


HEALTH

APP
CHALLENGES



Summer 2012

Mobile Health Design Course





Health App Challenges


Page
1

Health App Challenges


MOB I L E HE AL T H DE S I GN

C OUR S E

DEFINITION

A
pp challenges are competitions that
create incentives for developers to create a mobile app for a certai
n
purpose, audience, or market.

There are numerous health app challenges sponsored by organizations
including government agencies and the American Medical Society.

Mobile Health

Competiti
ons

App challenges

have several purposes. Some are created so an organization can receive a

fully designed
and/or

developed app at lower cost than doing full in
-
house development. For instance, the University of
Chicago created an app challenge
to gather d
esign ideas for an app that would be helpful for the University
community. The grand prize was a device worth several hundred dollars.


Health App Challenges


Page
2


Other

app challenges are developed to help address a health issue that needs additional attention or
resources.

The De
partment of Veterans Affairs wanted a better way to help the homeless and caregivers of
homeless find essential services. They created an app challenge to motivate developers to design a mobile
app that can provide real
-
time electronic access to essential
homeless services.


Other challenges are developed to help promote a market, company, or mission. For instance, Android
frequently has developer challenges where the company provides lucrative grand prizes for high quality
apps submitted to their market. Their goal is to incr
ease the quality of useful apps in their app store.
Private
entities conduct app contests to further brand their products and find innovative concepts for currently existing
commercial entities.


History of App Challenges

In 2008, Apple released a develo
pment kit for their iPhone devices. Developers were able to create apps
that the operating system can implement for users. The app store grew to over 10,000 apps by the end of
the 2008 with 200,000,000 downloads.

Google entered the smartphone market at the

end of 2008 while Apple’s app market was becoming popular
among developers and phone users. Google’s mobile phone operating system, Android, needed to compete
to provide an app store with quality apps that users will enjoy.

The first major app challenge w
as conducted by Google in 2008. Google set aside $10 million and had
judges from other technology companies choose the top apps. Each winning app received up to $275,000.

Private companies started to use app challenges as a way of highlighting their produ
cts. For instance, Navteq,
a GPS company, offered prize money for developers who incorporated GPS technology into their apps.

Health App Challenges


Page
3

In 2010, the Health 2.0 Conference held a competition by West Wireless Health Institute for a low
-
cost,
secure health

app that pr
ovided

real
-
time health data.
That same year, the federal government pushed for a
budget that c
ould be used to host challenges
to improve government innovation.

Congress passed the
America
COMPETES Reauthorization Act

that gives government departments and agencies broad authority to conduct
prize competitions.


As a result, t
he web site Challenge.gov was created to host mobile health challenges,
including Apps for Healthy Kids.


Mot
ivation to Par ticipate

Winners often get prize money,
and many challenges have one grand prize and several runner
-
up prizes.
However, developers benefit in other ways, too. Developers receive recognition

and have their apps
showcased, learn from other deve
lopers about the app design process, receive feedback on their work, and
get their ideas to a point where it is ready to be judged
.
Often times, their apps might produce further
private sector interest and lead to more lucrative development opportunities.

Health App Challenges


Page
4


Benefits for Organization
s

or Agenc
ies

Competitions provide
numerous
advantages

over conventional means of research and app development.

Co
-
founder of Sun Microsystems, Bill Joy, reflected that “no matter who you are, most of the smartest people
work for someone else.” Competitions allow organizations to leverage the crowd to help design and develop
useful apps.



Competitions can greatly in
crease the cost effectiveness of developing ambitious solutions to hard
challenges. If an
agency uses a vendor or provides a grant to a third party, the agency is obligated
to pay for all results; however, if the agency uses a prize, it pays only for the w
inning entry.



Competitions help identify solutions faster. Instead of the slow patterns of sequential innovation often
found in the private sector, prize competitors can work in parallel, motivated by the need to meet a
deadline.



Competitions, especially t
hose with prizes, can dramatically increase the number of minds
simultaneously tackling a problem. The most valuable and innovative solutions often come from the
most unexpected corners.

Structure of App Challenges

App challenges usually have three stages

of development

Design, Operation, and Follow
-
up. Each stage has
an associated set of activities and the potential to use partnerships to provide a better product.

Case Study

Motivations to enter app challenge



Some app challenges have design workshops that you can take advantage of



Great way to get feedback on prototype



It might change the perception of the app or the company, especially when there is an active
commu
nity

Anmol

Madan,

http://web.media.mit.edu/~anmol/

CEO & Data
-
Scientist,

Ginger
.
io

Anmol

leads the overall product vision and business strategy at

Ginger
.
io
. He has extensive research
experience in modelin
g large
-
scale human behavior data using statistical and pattern recognition methods.
His past research has been featured in academic publications in computer science, and featured in popular
media like the Economist, BusinessWeek, BBC and CNN. He received
his PhD from the Media Lab, at MIT
(with Alex Pentland), and also worked at Microsoft (Windows Mobile).


Health App Challenges


Page
5


Design
During the design stage, agencies look to prioritize opportunities in a variety of w
ays. Agencies
consult with external partners, funding sources, and form committees to explore possible competition ideas.
Committees often look into the estimated completion cost, feasibility, and intended outcomes. In this stage, the
structure of the comp
etition forms, including the prize award, criteria for selecting a winner, and the rules that
govern the competition.

Operation

This stage begins with recruitment by marketing the competition to the general public. Once
interest has been shown, the agencie
s usually show the participants ideas for what they are looking for and
provide feedback to help participants improve their ideas. This includes providing prototype tools or beta
testing of apps. Later in this stage, judges select winters.

Follow
-
up

Agenci
es then evaluate the effectiveness of the competition. They assess whether they received
their intended outcome and look for ways to improve the process of app competitions in the future. This
includes receiving feedback from partners, participants, and ju
dges.

The rules for entries are usually vague, with a purpose or target audience specified. Beyond that,
judging
criteria can be used to determine what is important to judges.

A
pp challenges are mostly judged by a panel of selected judges. For instance, th
e most recent challenges
posted on Challenge.gov have had judges selected by hosts of the challenge. The judges tend to have diverse
points of view.
The

Surgeon General
’s

app challenge
was judged by

figure skater Michelle Kwan, along with
a Chief Technolog
y Officer from the U.S. Department of Human Services and a fitness consultant.

Health App Challenges


Page
6


Some

challenges
are crowdsourced with

a public voting period. The app that receives the most votes from the
public will usually get additional prize money.

Judges typically
use a criterion to assess the quality of an app. Criteria varies

based on the organization
hosting the challenge, but the c
ommon ones used are:

(1)

Usefulness

(2)

Innovativeness/Creativity

(3)

Evidence
-
Based or Data
-
Driven Approach

(4)

Usability

(5)

Potential Impact

(6)

Fun Facto
r

Interestingly, each app is rated on the degree of new thinking and creativity it brings. Judges are looking for
new ways to engage users in healthy behaviors. Similarly, fun factor has become a criteria tool. Judges are
looking for apps that are engaging

in promoting health behavior. Apps with a high fun factor will get more
use, leading to potentially better health outcomes.

Furthermore, judges measure the “usefulness” of an app based on its ability to empower users to engage in
health promoting behavior
s. Some contests require that apps provide health information tailored to the needs
of the user.

Health App Challenges


Page
7


All competitions are not about developing a ful
l app. Many competitions look fo
r just app designs, feature
ideas, coding upgrades, and user interface improvements.
There are several notable app competitions.



Point Solutions Prizes

aims to solve a well
-
defined problem with a software or application. The
competition can be clearly desc
ribed with an objective wining criterion that can be easily measured.



Market Stimulation Prizes

facilitates the creation of new markets. For instance, developing an app
contest to increase the number of mobile health applications in Haiti. The contest prov
ides incentives to
fill this market need.



Exposition Prizes

these competitions are designed to highlight a broad range of promising ideas
and practices. Many times, full app development is not required. The goal is to receive great ideas
that are innovativ
e enough to gain financial interest by outside funding sources.



Participation Prizes

these competitions are set up to change the behavior of the participants. The
Environmental Protection Agency developed a competition where participants were asked partici
pants
to reduce their energy usage by testing out new monitoring tools.

Health App Challenges


Page
8

Based on the above judging criteria, a successfully designed app must do at least several things. First, the
app must be innovative enough to differentiate itself from currently existi
ng applications. Yet, it also must be
an app that draws interest from consumers. Second,
app design

must be informed with evidence
-
based
guidelines. There have been many popular apps that have gained traction in the consumer market without
being based on o
r
providing a proven model of success to increase healthy behavior. An app must be both
engaging

and correct when providing healthy advice. Third, the design of the app must be natural and
useable. Users should be able to pick up the app in a variety of si
tuations
and contexts
and be able to
successfully use it.


Given the judging criteria, judges have limited knowledge of an app. Most likely, app descriptions and
screenshots are used for judging, as opposed to actual short
-
term or sustained use by judges.
A well
-
written
app submission, therefore, is crucial.

Challenge Par ticipation

The
amount of
participation
in a challenge varies

depending on the prize and potential notoriety from
winning a challenge. According to statistics found on Challenge.gov, app cha
llenges can receive between a
dozen to several hundred app submissions. An app challenge with a prize of $35,000 might receive a couple
dozen submissions. App challenges that are more highly publicized will typically receive over a hundred app
submissions.


Success of App Challenges

Winning a mobile app challenge does not guarantee that the app will gain market success. Even competitions
with the largest grand prizes led to apps that only had a mediocre performance on the consumer app market.
App challenge
success depends on the demand for the apps being developed. Weight loss app competition
leaders have had the largest success, especially
Lose It!

which won the Surgeon General’s app c
ompetition in
the beginning of the year. Other challenge winners, like the EPA competition winner who developed a
Light
Bulb Finder

app, did not gain popularity o
r high ratings when released into the consumer market.

Organizations still find app contests successful, regardless of how well the winners do in the consumer market.
Organizations gain notoriety, attention, partnerships, and expertise to inform their programs. As a result, app
competitions have only grown ove
r the past couple years.

Overall, the consumer market judges the quality of an app slightly differently than how judges in an app
competition judge them. Apps can gain more resources and partnerships to develop a better app upon
winning an app
competition, but creating an app that better fits consumers than the guidelines for an app
competition leads to the best success.







Health App Challenges


Page
9

RECENT MOBILE HEALTH

CHALLENGES

App Challenge

Dates

Prize

AMA App Challenge

Submission: April 1
-
June 30 2011

Finalists
selected: September 30,
2011

$2,500

My Air, My Health Challenge

Submission: June 6
-
October 5,
2012

Finalists selected: November 8,
2012

$10
0,000

Healthymagination Challenge:
Assembling Tools to Fight Cancer

Submission: September 15
-
November 20, 2011

Finalists selected:
January 2012

$1
00,000


United States Surgeon General’s Healthy Apps Challenge


North Carolina Health Innovation Cha
llenge







Health App Challenges


Page
10

Institute of Medicine Global Domestic Violence Prevention


Institute
of Medicine Go Viral to Improve Health




Health App Challenges


Page
11

Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize


Activating Empathy: Transforming Schools To Teach What Matters


Robert
Woods Johnson Foundation



Nokia Sensing X Challenge: Revolutionizing Digital Healthcare


LINKS

About app chal
lenges

Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicators App Challenge

Participant benefits of app challenges

Challenge.gov Mobile Health Contests

Health App Challenges


Page
12

America COMPETES Reauthorization Act

A
dvantages

of app competition

Winners of Health 2.0 Devel
oper Challenge

Innocentive

Crowdsource Your Challenge

Netflix Crowdsourcing

SAMPLE ENTRIES

Lisa Gualtieri’s two entries, Feed Me and Dance World, to the Surgeon General’s App Challenge are at
http://mobilehealthdesign.org/registration/2012
-
06
-
06
-
assignmen
ts
-
readings/
: she didn’t win (or receive
any feedback or ranking). What more could she have done?