Humana, J&J launch digital health challenge competitions

By Dave Muoio
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Humana and Johnson & Johnson have each announced a new challenge competition for digital health students and entrepreneurs. The former seeks novel approaches to easy and understandable EHR management with a focus on Medicare-compatibility, and will award up to $10,000. The latter is offering up to $50,000 for new skin care strategies potentially incorporating tracking devices, adherence strategies, and consumer education.

Easy-to-use EHRs

Humana’s Innovation Challenge is open to any students, entrepreneurs, or early-stage startups based in California. Participants will wrangle with a simulated collection of patient data to create a tool that would allow users to easily view and understand their long-term health record.

Participants may choose whether to design their entry for consumers or health care providers. Humana said that is specifically looking for approaches that clearly demonstrate value opportunities through decreased costs, improved clinical care, or ease of accessibility. In addition, the insurer encouraged competitors to use visual or voice interfaces within their submissions, and noted a number of tools, technologies, and formats as potential avenues of success. Among these suggestions were: Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, machine learning, natural language processing, artificial intelligence, web portals, tablets, and smartphone apps.

"We know there’s a great opportunity to improve the digital experience for the Medicare population and for health care providers,” Busy Burr, vice president and head of health care trend and innovation at Humana, told MobiHealthNews. “Patient medical records are a view into a person’s life, and this is an opportunity to make that data work harder to create better outcomes. We hope this innovation challenge will help us better engage with entrepreneurs and students, so together we can start envisioning new ways of helping people achieve their best health.”

All submissions are due by Dec. 3. From these, Humana will choose six finalists to present their pitches to a panel of judges on Dec. 19 for first ($10,000), second ($5,000), and third ($2,500) place prizes.

Digital health approaches for improved skin care

The Digital Beauty QuickFire Challenge is led by Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s JLABS incubator. Along with funding to advance a product prototype toward commercialization, the challenge’s winners will receive up to one year of residence at the incubator and one funded, custom-designed consumer research initiative at Johnson & Johnson’s Consumer Experience Center.

“We are seeking innovative devices and digital technology solutions to make the invisible visible and tackle the toughest skin care challenges," Naomi Furgiuele, vice president of Global Face and Sun R&D at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., said in a statement. "By creating powerful connected experiences with those outside of our company walls, we are able to build consumer preference, loyalty, and unique personalization.”

The challenge is focused on developing three areas of digital skin care: tools focused on educating consumers and improving their self-care, monitoring devices and adherence solutions, and other technology or devices that increase the efficacy of topical therapy applications. Deadline to submit an applicaiton is Jan. 19, 2018, with winners announced in the spring.

"The next beauty tech disrupters are out there, and this Challenge will help us identify the most promising potential partners in the co-creation of meaningful, future-forward skin solutions,” Sebastien Guillon president of Global Beauty at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., said in a statement.