AHA kicks off innovation challenge to put social determinants of health to work

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has launched its second annual innovation challenge to find sustainable scalable IT solutions for eliminating the social determinants that bring a community’s health down.


The challenge, as defined by AHA, is to focus on using technology “to influence positive cultural change and improve health outcomes, while increasing value and lowering costs.” Winners will be selected for how well they identify a defined target population, validate the need for improvement in the population through data, and for how well the proposed improvements fit, improves or complement current care strategies.  

Managing social determinants within population health is critical to improving outcomes, closing care gaps and lowering the cost curve, experts said, but getting there will require a new era of personalization, science and return on investment. 


Healthcare IT News owner HIMSS has predicted that this will be the year social determinants gain greater attention. In its new report, “2019 Healthcare Trends Forecast: The Beginning of a Consumer-Driven Reformation,” HIMSS said that last year it became clear traditional healthcare alone won’t bend the cost curve.

This year, companies and healthcare providers that focus on the social determinants of health and how to integrate mechanisms for providers to play a bigger role in triage, data-driven care, continuity of care and personalized action plans will find a more receptive environment, according to HIMSS.


“Through this year’s Innovation Challenge, our goal is to improve living conditions of our most vulnerable populations by pushing the boundaries of today’s and tomorrow’s technologies,” said Jay Bhatt, senior vice president and chief medical officer at AHA.


The competition, sponsored by First American Healthcare Finance, is open to all AHA members and their partners, and AHA is offering three prizes: $100,000, $25,000 and $15,000.

Submission requirements and application are available at aha.org/innovation-challenge. The deadline to submit applications is May 24, and winners will be announced at the AHA Leadership Summit in San Diego, July 25-27.

Diana Manos is a Washington, D.C.-area freelance writer specializing in healthcare, wellness and technology. 

Twitter: @Diana_Manos
Email the writer: [email protected] 

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication. 

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