On Jan. 20, Ford Motor Co. and Henry Ford Health System are kicking off an innovation challenge that seeks – and rewards – employees who team to design smart-phone apps, wearable devices or in-vehicle systems that extend health care to the confines of the car.
During the kick-off event, which runs from 8 a.m. to noon at the Ford Conference & Event Center, 1151 Village Road, Dearborn, leaders from both organizations will share their vision and hopes for the competition that aims to expand the boundaries of patient monitoring.
Ideas for the Connected Health App Challenge include but are not limited to designs that offer in-vehicle health monitoring and warnings, medical test ordering and records access from the road, appointment check-ins, prescription pick-ups and data collection that can be transmitted to a doctor’s office or hospital. The car and technology do the work while the driver stays focused on the road.
The ideal designs, be they wearable sensors, smartphone apps or other IT communication devices, would increase touch points between patients and care providers.
Ford and Henry Ford Health System want to learn more about managing healthy conditions with automotive connectivity, improving the driving experience with vital sign information and how connected health can save lives on the road.
Gary Strumolo, global manager for vehicle design & infotronics, Ford Research & Advanced Engineering, says the development of connected health technology speaks to Ford’s mission of producing great products, building a strong business and creating a better world.
“It is for this last goal that we pioneered the introduction of health and wellness in the automobile as a way to expand on the meaning of automotive safety, not just crash prevention but a holistic approach to ensure the driver is always at peak performance,” Strumolo says.
Ward Detwiler, associate director, Henry Ford Health System Innovations, says the partnership has great development potential.
“We are excited to see the kind of creativity that is generated when we combine the tremendous talent of these two organizations. We believe this is the first challenge of its kind in the world” Detwiler says. “We’re also excited about the potential to improve patient care and the business of health care overall.”
More information and a registration details are at www.henryfordinnovation.com/healthcareonwheels.Individual submissions will be accepted, but teams composed of employees from both organizations are encouraged The winning design receives $5,000; first runner-up prize $3,000; and second-runner-up $2,000 and ideally will be incorporated into Ford vehicle information systems.
“Smartphone and wearable apps, when linked to our SYNC connectivity system, can provide many useful features that can contribute to this digital health initiative, and this app challenge can be a key component of that development,” Strumolo says.
The Connected Health App Challenge is rooted in the need to serve an increasing number of people living with chronic conditions as many are expected to spend more hours behind the wheel, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“There’s no limit to the ideas that we’re looking for. Big ideas, small ideas. We’re looking for ways to use technology to do things as simple as increasing convenience for the health consumer and improving the driver experience, to as significant as saving lives,” he says. “There is a clear need to extend patient beyond the doctor’s office or hospital visit, both to improve patient wellness and lower overall healthcare costs.”