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NIA launches unique challenge competition for Alzheimer's care software

Dr. Dawn Beraud
Dawn BERAUD,
Health Science Policy Analyst,
Office of the Director (OD)
.
Picture of Dr. Partha Bhattacharyya
Partha BHATTACHARYYA,
Program Director,
Division of Behavioral and Social Research (DBSR)
.

Are you up for a challenge? Then check out the Improving Care for People with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Using Technology (iCare-AD/ADRD) Challenge. Submissions opened on October 1, 2018 for NIA’s first Eureka prize competition.

Through this challenge—which is part of the 21st Century Cures Act—NIA seeks to spur and reward the development of computer-based technology applications to improve dementia care coordination and/or care navigation. Applicants can compete for up to $250,000 in cash prizes for their solutions.

Challenge background

Navigating the U.S. health care system can be especially difficult for the millions of people with dementia (PWD) and for their caregivers. The iCare-AD/ADRD Challenge seeks to address some of those difficulties by encouraging the development of computer applications that can make care coordination or navigation easier and more effective for PWD and their caregivers, including family members, health professionals or other service providers. 

Managing dementia care effectively can reduce the clinical symptoms of dementia and improve health outcomes by reducing behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. Improved care management can also reduce health care costs by cutting down on unnecessary emergency department visits, inpatient hospitalizations, and readmissions.

This challenge encourages connections and collaborations between stakeholders by leveraging technology to turn these connections into more effective care for PWD. Utilizing the Eureka prize format can help foster these innovations more quickly than traditional NIH funding mechanisms such as grants or contracts. The prize also provides an incentive for disparate entities to come together to collaborate and apply for funding.

Connect with the challenge managers

Since this is NIA’s first challenge, we know you may have questions. That’s why we’ve scheduled a webinar for October 17, 2018, at 2:30 p.m., Eastern time. We will introduce attendees to the challenge, review participation requirements, and answer as many questions as we can during the session. You can register for the webinar at https://bit.ly/2MhGc7w.

Examples of possible solutions

If you need some ideas to get your imagination going, take a look at a few possibilities outlined below. These are only examples—we encourage ingenuity and creativity!

  • Effective communication between clinicians, patients, and families: Develop software for a mobile application to assist PWD and caregivers during primary care and specialty physician visits. The application could be tailored to individual care needs and prepopulated with diagnoses and medications used. It could also include questions to ask clinicians or links to local resources or relevant insurance coverage information.
  • Access to care and relevant community resources or enhancing access to existing services: Design technology to help PWD and their families with aging in place, access to appropriate transportation options using smart devices, and coordination of health care visits.
  • Improve care coordination: Collaboration between a technology company, electronic health record (EHR) vendor, and nursing home chain could produce EHR-based methods to improve care coordination. Other solutions could involve behavioral “nudges” for care providers or patients by using smart-phone technology; this could also be designed for use by PWD and caregivers.

We designed this opportunity to engage a wide range of applicants: small businesses, individuals (including but not limited to people with dementia and caregivers), midsize to large technology companies, health insurance companies, EHR vendors, students working together across multiple disciplines, health systems, states, and/or counties implementing care coordination programs.

The deadline for applications is June 30, 2019. Submit your best ideas and help us solve this critical challenge! Full competition details are available here: https://www.nia.nih.gov/challenge-prize.

Please contact us or comment below if you have questions.

Comments

Submitted by Jeff Leismer on October 04, 2018

Challenge accepted! Look for VibeTech's upcoming submissions on novel concepts for engaging with and providing physical and cognitive exercises and assessments to people with dementia. Our goal is to dramatically increase the value of care for patients with dementia and to better engage their caregivers. The timing couldn't be better, since we have just begun recruiting a team of experts to put together a proposal/application for the exact work you are soliciting.

Submitted by Dan Schlewitz on October 08, 2018

We are very interested in learning more about the upcoming challenge. We have been working for over 3 years developing a software platform that efficiently delivers relevant national and community-based resources from trustworthy sources to patients, care partners and providers. We look forward to hearing more about iCare-AD/ADRD.