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The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) today launched the PCORI Matchmaking App Challenge, which invites developers to create fully-functioning apps that allow researchers to connect with patients and other healthcare stakeholders eager to be research partners.
PCORI will award a total of $150,000 to the developers of the winning apps. The challenge will be co-hosted by Health 2.0, a San Francisco-based company that promotes and showcases new technologies in health care through a series of conferences, code-a-thons, challenge competitions and more.
The PCORI Matchmaking App Challenge aims to find better ways to initiate research partnerships between the scientists who conduct studies and the patients, clinicians, and others who are the “end users” of study results. Traditionally, this is largely a one-way process, where researchers initiate both the ideas for studies and contact with potential study participants. PCORI wants to make this more of a two-way street, requiring the studies it funds have well-developed plans to engage patients and other healthcare stakeholders throughout the research process.
“The end result of this challenge will be a tool that will help anyone — researcher or non-researcher — to kick-start a research partnership,” said Jean Slutsky, PA, MSPH, PCORI’s Chief Engagement and Dissemination Officer.
“We’re frequently asked by clinical scientists how they can find potential partners with relevant interests and willingness to be part of a research team,” she noted. ”Meanwhile, patient groups united by a disease or condition frequently seek research partners who can support their mission to find better prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options. Technology could be the ‘matchmaker’ that brings these two groups together.”
The app selected for first prize will receive a total of $100,000, $60,000 of which will be awarded immediately and the rest delivered once the app is made publicly available through app stores such as Google Play and Apple’s iTunes store. The second prize is $35,000 and the third prize is $15,000.
Challenge submissions will be judged by a panel of technology experts, PCORI staff members, and members of PCORI’s multi-stakeholder Advisory Panels. Submissions must demonstrate how they will facilitate connections that circumvent geographic, societal or educational limits and allow equal access for patients, stakeholders, and researchers from a variety of backgrounds and with varying health interests and range of research experience. Additional judging criteria as well as guidelines and registration information can be found on the Health 2.0 website.
PCORI and Health 2.0 will host a public webinar on Wednesday, April 30, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET, to discuss the challenge goals and guidelines and answer participants’ questions. Registration for the webinar is now open onPCORI’s event page.
The PCORI Matchmaking App Challenge is the latest in a series of steps PCORI has taken to facilitate connections among clinical researchers and non-researcher stakeholders. It is the second technology challenge sponsored by PCORI and Health 2.0, which awarded prizes for concepts and prototypes of tools that could help link potential research partners last June. Earlier this month, PCORI introduced the PCOR Partner List, a new resource through which patients and other stakeholders who are interested in partnering on PCORI-funded projects can share relevant information that PCORI will then provide to researchers who submit applications for PCORI funding.