Social Determinants of Health Tech Challenge

Presented by HIMSS and Accenture

Seeking Solutions to Improve Healthy Aging in Rural Communities

Grand Prize: $10,000 | Deadline: February 17, 2020

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The nation's population is aging, and its healthcare needs are increasing. The challenges affecting rural communities and the seniors who live there are unique. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the population 65 years and older includes 8 million people and is expected to double over the next 25 years. Although 50 million people live in two-thirds of counties outside metropolitan areas, healthcare services are less available there than in cities. This is even more challenging for seniors who don't have public transportation or other services to rely on to get to and from the grocery, bank, doctor's office and more.

Compared to seniors living in urban areas, rural seniors:

  • Have higher poverty rates, lower incomes and fewer employment opportunities
  • Live in less adequate and older housing
  • Rely more heavily on themselves and informal networks for transportation
  • Are older and less healthy
  • Have less access to community-based social, health and mental health services
  • Have fewer long-term care options

In addition, rural America is becoming much more diverse, with 83% of rural population growth accounted for by nonwhites.

As populations age in rural communities, digital technologies have the potential to address issues like care coordination for chronic conditions, social isolation and loneliness, and medication management, and can transform health and wellness for seniors while also meeting caregiver needs.

Join HIMSS Global Health Equity Network to advance diversity and inclusion to ensure health and wellness for everyone, everywhere.

Presented By:

Participate in these Social Determinants of Health events at HIMSS20:

Pop Health & SDoH Forum at HIMSS20
March 9, 2020 | Orlando, FL

At the Pop Health & SDoH Forum at HIMSS20 , learn how leading healthcare orgs are using digital technologies and other personalized approaches to deliver better outcomes for vulnerable populations.

Aging & Tech Forum: Addressing the Silver Tsunami at HIMSS20
March 9, 2020 | Orlando, FL

At the Aging & Tech Forum at HIMSS20, explore how virtual care and other technologies are being used to help seniors manage chronic care at home and assist them in maintaining their independence.

About the HIMSS and Accenture SDOH Tech Challenge

Seeking Tech Solutions to Improve Healthy Aging in Rural Communities

Rural communities experience some of the same challenges to good health as many urban communities. They struggle with poverty, lower levels of education, poor health behaviors, distrust in the medical system, and uneven standards of care between providers.

Elders living in rural communities often face "double jeopardy" as they encounter the physical, social and economic changes that accompany aging in communities that offer fewer resources to counter them. From an implementation and dissemination perspective, the benefits of current healthcare technology advances are not reaching sparsely populated, isolated communities.

One solution is to utilize the connective power of information and technology to increase access to information, resources, services and support to these communities.

HIMSS and Accenture believe the most effective approach is to have technology developers work directly with trusted rural community leaders and with people in the community to fully comprehend factors contributing to health disparities. Over the course of this challenge, we encourage you to ask questions, gain clarity and refine your thinking to ensure that your submissions truly reflect the needs of seniors aging in rural areas.

We seek innovations that:

  • Are rooted in authentic understanding of the experience in rural settings
  • Bridge the gaps between community members and products, services, information, institutions and/or groups that could improve healthy aging in rural communities
  • Are forward-thinking, leveraging upcoming and future technology trends

Choose the Challenge Your Team Wants to Tackle

Challenge 1: Cognitive Care (MIND)

Providing person-centered care with dignity and purpose to older adults is a goal in aging care; in cognitive care, it is the essence of what caregivers do. Technology has numerous potential applications to dementia, from diagnosis and assessment to care delivery and supporting aging in place. Although Alzheimer's disease represents 60–80% of dementia diagnoses, there are other forms of dementia, including vascular, Lewy body and those that occur in association with conditions such as Parkinson's and Huntington's disease.

As you develop tech solutions, please contemplate:

  • How can we help provide person-centered care with dignity to improve the lives of seniors in rural settings?
  • How can we increase engagement and communication with seniors?
  • How can we stimulate reminiscing conversations?
  • How can we reduce anxiety?
  • How can we assist with sleep and daytime agitation?

Challenge 2: Care Coordination & Disease Management (BODY)

Many older adults have multiple conditions, with some having 10 or more medications to manage. While comorbidities and medication management are similar challenges in rural and urban settings, some approaches that have been effective in urban settings do not translate well to the rural environment. For example, visiting nurses my not be economically feasible due to the distance between homes; care coordination nurses may offer advice but there may not be a nearby facility to refer seniors for complications; or caregivers may live hours away from the rural elderly. Creative approaches using technology are needed to both bridge the care coordination challenges associated with dispersed populations and lack of care access, as well as to support caregivers for whom daily or even regular visits with loved ones may be difficult.

As you develop tech solutions, please contemplate:

  • How can technology shorten the distance for caregivers?
  • How can we support medication management?
  • How can we connect seniors with healthcare providers?
  • How can technology help reduce the cost of care provided by nurses?

Challenge 3: Social Isolation (SOUL)

Social isolation is a growing population health issue, especially for older adults, and has been shown to be a risk factor for mortality equivalent to smoking and obesity. Many adults experience social isolation and loneliness as they grow older, and transportation is one of the biggest issues for seniors. A lack of reliable transportation is a safety hazard and can also isolate seniors by making them homebound, increasing the risk for both physical and mental illnesses. While there are a variety of factors that can lead to social isolation, technology can play a role to help mitigate these risks.

For rural seniors, sources of connection like community centers may not exist or may be beyond reach. The inability to attend church regularly or to stay attached to social clubs or community groups may come abruptly. Standard forms of engagement through technology, like smartphones, may be foreign and frustrating. A strong technical solution will consider both the types of interaction that may serve to alleviate loneliness, as well as the best technical interface to help bridge digital divides for seniors and introduce them to new sources of engagement and entertainment.

As you develop tech solutions, please contemplate:

  • How can technology connect seniors with communities and loved ones?

Official Competition Rules


  1. The HIMSS and Accenture Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) Tech Challenge welcomes innovators, collegiate and professional.
  2. The Challenge is open to teams of 4 individuals or less who are at least 18 years of age.
  3. Only English-language submissions will be considered.


  1. To submit an entry into the Challenge, visit the application website link from databox beginning Monday, December 16, 2019 12:01 AM EST.
  2. The final day to submit an entry is Monday, February 17, 2020 11:59 PM EST.
  3. There is no cost to enter the Challenge, and HIMSS membership will not increase the chances of acceptance into the Challenge or winning a Challenge prize.
  4. Submissions for acceptance into the Challenge are reviewed and accepted by the selection committee on a rolling basis, beginning Monday, December 16, 2019. See below for selection criteria.
  5. The Organizer and Organizing Partner(s) reserve the exclusive right to set and adjust the number of teams accepted into the Competition.
  6. Challenge winners will be notified by Wednesday, February 26, 2020.


  1. The selection committee will consider the following criteria, and others, when evaluating applications:
    1. The degree to which the solution addresses the stated objective of this Challenge.
    2. Whether the application is complete and adheres to the requirements of the application website.
    3. Whether the solution proposed is viable. Viability will be assessed from a technical and market perspective.
    4. Whether the assembled team has the requisite skills and experience to contribute to the success of the project.


  1. Qualification of judges
    1. Challenge winners will be chosen by a panel of judges solely selected by Organizer and Organizing Partner(s).
    2. Judges will be experienced professionals that have deep expertise in one or more areas critical to successful healthcare innovation. These areas include, but are not limited to:
      1. Healthcare industry expertise
      2. Community Stakeholders
      3. Experience within the disruptive technology
      4. Other areas as deemed appropriate by the Organizer and Organizing Partner(s)
  2. Judging process
    1. All judging will occur before February 25, 2020.
    2. Judges will be provided with an overview of each business plan based on application materials submitted.
    3. Each judge will score each team based on the approved judging criteria using numerical ranking.
    4. The numerical rankings will be tallied and summed so that an overall score can be determined for each team.
    5. In the event of a tie, the winners will be determined based on a simple majority vote by the judges.
    6. The Organizer and Organizing Partner(s) reserve the sole right to define and modify the judging process as deemed appropriate.
    7. Under no circumstances will a team be permitted to appeal the final decision of the judges. Judging decisions are final, binding and not contestable.
  3. Judging Criteria
    1. Applications will be evaluated on the criteria of commercial viability, technical viability, financial viability, strength of the team, and presentation of the business plan.
      1. The degree to which the solution addresses the stated objective of this Challenge.
      2. Whether the application is complete and adheres to the requirements of the application website.
      3. Commercial viability includes key aspects of the competitive environment and the value proposition, and may include, but is not limited to:
        1. The market need addressed and how
        2. The need for the product or service
        3. Market growth (potential future and past performance)
        4. Competitors and competitive technologies
        5. The competitive solution
        6. Customer segments
        7. Relationships to be forged
        8. Marketing and distribution channels to be exploited
      4. Technical viability may include, but is not limited to:
        1. The unique technical features of the product or service
        2. Technological feasibility
        3. Intellectual property positions
        4. Cost and pathway to development
        5. Timeline to complete the work
        6. Likelihood of and risks to development
      5. Use of Proceeds
        1. Includes how winning the competition will impact the team and the solution.
      6. Strength of the Team may include, but is not limited to:
        1. Team alignment
        2. Technical competence
        3. Business acumen
        4. Industry knowledge
        5. Enthusiasm and commitment


  1. Description of prizes
    1. Cash Prizes:
      1. 1st place – $10,000 + 1 Full Complimentary Registration to HIMSS20 Global Health Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, Florida Thrive Center will offer a mentorship package worth $5,000 for the winner to meet aging care experts and learn the aging care ecosystem from home to hospice.
  2. Awarding of prizes
    1. General rules regarding prizes:
      1. Organizer is not responsible for any dispute among team participants related to prizes.
      2. Each Participant is solely responsible for any applicable taxes for prizes awarded.
      3. Prizes are not transferable.
    2. How funds are to be transferred:
      1. The Challenge will provide an award letter with amount, signed by a competition official, to each team.
      2. With each letter will be a form W-9 and a stamped, addressed mailing envelope.
      3. Winning teams should complete the W-9, sign the award letter and return both forms to the event Organizer in the envelope provided.
      4. Seed funding will be sent by mail within 30 days of receipt of signed letter and W-9.
      5. Seed funding will be made to the entity or individual directed by the W-9 and will be mailed to the address specified on the W-9.


  1. Organizer has the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any participant or team for a violation of the rules.
  2. Organizer may prohibit certain contestants or teams from participating in the Challenge or winning a prize if, in its sole discretion, it determines that a contestant or team has attempted to undermine the legitimate operation of the Challenge by cheating, hacking, deception, or any other unfair practice.
  3. Organizer has the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any participant or team that attempts to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other participants or representatives of Organizer.
  4. Entries containing pornographic material, defamatory statements or are otherwise deemed offensive by Organizer are prohibited from participating in the competition.
  5. Ineligible entries may be disqualified at any time without notice.


  1. Organizer has the right to cancel or suspend the Challenge with or without notice and for any or no reason.
  2. Organizer, and Organizing Partner(s), are not responsible for, and Participants hereby waive any claim for, damages, claims, losses, or inconveniences caused by cancellation or suspension of the Challenge.


  1. By providing a submission to the Challenge, each Participant represents and warrants that the submission does not violate any applicable law or any third party intellectual property rights.
  2. Organizers and Organizing Partner(s) do not make any claims to or take responsibility for the intellectual property that might be developed or enhanced through participation in the Challenge.
  3. It is up to each team, solely, to determine ownership of any work that is created and developed during the Challenge.
  4. Organizers and Organizing Partner(s) accept no responsibility for resolving IP disputes among Participants.


  1. Participant hereby grants Organizers the right to use Participant's name, likeness, photo, voice, appearance, biographical information, statements, and performance in association with the Challenge ("Name and Likeness") and take photographs, record, project, stream, broadcast, and rebroadcast the same.
  2. By applying to and/or participating in the Challenge, team members expressly consent to the collection of personal information necessary to organize and administer the Challenge. Personal information is collected for the purposes of registering teams for the Challenge, administering and promoting the Challenge, and communicating about current and future events. Participants understands and agrees that personal information may be shared with Organizing Partner(s), Sponsors, and other parties involved in the Challenge.
  3. Participants expressly consent to receiving electronic messages relating to participation in the Challenge.


  1. Participants represent and warrant that:
    1. They meet the eligibility requirements specified in the rules and will abide by the rules and the decisions of the judges;
    2. Their submission is their own original work and/or collectively that of their team and that they have all necessary rights or licenses to incorporate any third party intellectual property into the submission;
    3. The submission will not infringe the intellectual property rights or contractual rights of any third person; and,
    4. Their application and participation in the Challenge, if accepted, will full comply with these official rules.


  1. Under no circumstance will Organizer, Organizing Partner(s) or Sponsors be liable for any direct, incidental, indirect, special or consequential damages incurred by any Participants or third parties in connection with, arising out of, or relating in any way to the Challenge.
  2. Participant shall indemnify and hold Organizer, Organizing Partner(s), Sponsors and their officers, directors, employees, successors and assigns harmless against any claims, losses, damages, liabilities and expenses (including reasonable attorneys' and other professionals' fees) arising out of, or relating in any way participation in the Challenge.
  3. All disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or in connection with the Challenge, prizes, or the official rules, shall be adjudicated solely and exclusively by the state courts in Cook County, Illinois and the laws of the State of Illinois shall control. Participant submits to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of such court for the purpose of any action.
  4. Participant agrees not to use in any advertising, publicity, marketing, press release, or in any other way, the name, trademark, logo, symbol, image, likeness or other intellectual property of Organizer, Organizing Partner(s) or Sponsors without the prior written consent of the Organizer, Organizing Partner(s) and/or Sponsors, respectively.



For questions about the HIMSS and Accenture SDOH Tech Challenge application process or other details, contact:
Kate Berman
[email protected]

For media inquiries, contact:
Karen Groppe
[email protected]