We’re looking for proven ideas that have the potential to do great things for the U.S. health care delivery system. It is widely known that health care innovations are much slower to disseminate than comparable solutions in other industries. We want to help speed up the process. What’s your innovation?

Innovations must have credible, demonstrated evidence of their value proposition (such as cost savings, outcomes improvement, patient satisfaction, etc.); have a compelling dissemination plan; and be at the cusp of scaling.

Applications for the Health Acceleration Challenge closed on September 29 and we received 478 applications! After a rigorous screening process, we are proud to announce our four finalists for the Health Acceleration Challenge: Bloodbuy, I-Pass, Medalogix, and Twine.

More Information

For additional information about the Health Acceleration Challenge, please see the following items:

HBS-HMS Health Acceleration Challenge Finalists (VIDEO)
In this video, Heatlh Acceleration Challenge finalists discuss their innovations.
Health Acceleration Challenge Launch (VIDEO) Health Acceleration Challenge Launch (VIDEO)
This video introduces the Health Acceleration Challenge from HBS and HMS.
Health Acceleration Challenge Webinar (VIDEO) Health Acceleration Challenge Webinar (VIDEO)
An informational webinar about the Health Acceleration Challenge.
Health Acceleration Challenge Flyer (PDF) Health Acceleration Challenge Flyer (PDF)
Details for potential applicants.
Press Kit (ZIP) Press Kit (ZIP)
Challenge information and logos.

Conference Presentation

Health Acceleration Challenge finalists will gain access to 150 senior health care leaders at our invitation-only conference in April 2015. At our previous conference, over 50% of attendees were CEOs or presidents. Finalists will discuss their scale-up plans in a discussion led by senior Harvard faculty. There also will be an opportunity for one-on-one discussions with health care leaders at networking events. Our keynote speakers for this year's conference include Mark T. Bertolini, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and President, Aetna Inc.; Jeffrey S. Flier, MD, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Harvard University; Nitin Nohria, Dean, Harvard Business School; and Lawrence H. Summers, President Emeritus and Charles W. Eliot University Professor, Harvard University.

For further information on the conference, click here.

HBS Case Study

A Harvard Business School case study will be written about finalists’ organizations, discussed at the conference and potentially taught in classrooms around the world. Faculty writers include:

Richard G. Hamermesh Richard G. Hamermesh
MBA Class of 1961 Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School
Robert S. Huckman Robert S. Huckman
Albert J. Weatherhead III Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
Barbara J. McNeil, MD Barbara J. McNeil, MD
Ridley Watts Professor and Head of the Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School
Joseph P. Newhouse Joseph P. Newhouse
John D. MacArthur Professor of Health Policy and Management, Harvard University

Exposure

In addition to the press and marketing for the Health Acceleration Challenge and our conference, the ideas of our finalists will be widely distributed to alumni.

Financial Award

Our finalists will split $150,000 as determined by our judges. Funding for finalists will be awarded in 2015, and an additional $50,000 will be awarded a year later to the organization that has had the most success in scaling up.

Community Feedback

Applicants will receive invaluable feedback on their innovation and scale-up plan from a community of health care executives and entrepreneurs through our Health Acceleration Challenge platform. We hope that our process will assist you in finding new investors, customers and collaborators, even if you are not selected as a finalist in our Challenge.

Apply

Until Sep 29: Applicants are asked to describe their solution, articulate how it improves health care value, quantify the potential impact it could have if disseminated broadly, and outline a dissemination plan in a 1,000-word application.

Advise

Sep 30 – Oct 20: Any interested party will be able to comment on your application, provide suggestions, offer support and give you actionable feedback to improve your ideas. Our judges will use specific criteria to create a short list. To view and comment on innovations, register here.

Refine

Oct 21 – Nov 19: If you are shortlisted, you will be asked to provide additional information to the judges about your innovation and scale-up plan. You also will participate in a video or phone interview with a member of the evaluation committee.

Announce

Nov 20: Finalists will be announced on November 20, 2014, and will be invited to present at the Forum on Health Care Innovation conference. Finalists also will have a case study written about their organizations in early 2015.

Judging will be based on:

  • Impact — We will evaluate applications on their potential to improve the value of the U.S. health care delivery system by lowering cost, improving quality, and/or improving access. We are looking for tested innovations that, if more broadly disseminated, would dramatically improve health care value.

  • Evidence — We will ask for credible information from existing sites, pilots or customers to confirm that your innovation works. The more evidence you can provide, the stronger your application.

  • Dissemination — We want to know about your scale-up plan. What other sites, partners or customers do you intend to engage or have you already lined up? How will you overcome the common barriers to adoption? What’s the timeline? Your innovation does not necessarily have to be in commercializable form, but you do need a solid dissemination plan.

  1. What is the Forum on Health Care Innovation?

    The Forum on Health Care Innovation is a collaboration between Harvard Business School (HBS) and Harvard Medical School (HMS). Its purpose is to unite leading executives, policymakers, and academics in a cross-disciplinary exploration of innovative actions to improve quality, reduce costs, and, ultimately, increase value in the health care industry.

  2. What is the Health Acceleration Challenge?

    The Challenge aims to identify and promote innovations that have credible, demonstrated evidence to generate significant value for the U.S. health care delivery system. In particular, we are looking for proven ideas that, if more broadly disseminated, could move the needle on cost, quality or access.

  3. What do you mean by "demonstrated value" and "more broadly disseminated"?

    We want to see credible evidence from existing sites, pilots or customers that your innovation works. The more evidence you can provide, the stronger your application. Your innovation does not have to be in final form for commercialization, but you do need to provide a solid dissemination plan for how you will overcome barriers to widespread adoption across organizations.

  4. What are examples of "credible evidence"?

    You determine what your best evidence is. It could be quantitative data from existing pilots showing improved patient outcomes, customer satisfaction data, cost-savings documentation, or anything else that demonstrates success. You do not need to have run a randomized trial, but you need evidence that your idea increases value.

  5. Is there a specific problem that participants are supposed to solve?

    No. Innovation and value creation for health care delivery can come in many shapes and sizes, from process improvement and new business models to software or hardware innovations. As a result, we want you to choose the innovation, tell us how it has created value, and why your idea will be able to transform U.S. health care delivery.

  6. What are the benefits of participating?

    If you are a finalist, your innovation will be discussed at our invitation-only conference in April 2015 during a case discussion led by senior Harvard faculty. You will have the opportunity to meet with potential customers, investors and partners at the conference. Finalists also will benefit from feedback from our community of health care leaders and entrepreneurs, announcements to over 150,000 HBS and HMS alumni, and will split $150,000.

  7. How do teams apply?

    Applications closed on September 29, 2014 at 11:59 PM ET.

  8. How is this different from other Challenges?

    We believe innovations need to spread faster. We are focused on speeding up the adoption of innovations that have already demonstrated value on a small scale and could benefit from wider dissemination through the powerful combination of the participants in the Forum on Health Care Innovation and the Harvard faculty and alumni network. This is not a business plan competition.

  9. Who should apply to the Health Acceleration Challenge?

    We welcome applications from all types of people—individuals and teams, clinicians and administrators, technologists and scientists, and those inside or outside the health care industry—anyone with a proven health care innovation. All types of organizations are invited to apply as well—established or early stage, for profit or non-profit, from within the United States or outside.

  10. Do you prefer for-profit or non-profit entities?

    No preference. For-profit and non-profit ideas are both welcomed for consideration.

  11. Do I have to be based in the United States or Boston?

    No. You can be based anywhere in the world, however your solution needs to be applicable to the U.S. health care delivery system, and you need to have a credible plan on how to deliver your solution in the U.S. market.

  12. What are you not looking for?

    Pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device, and diagnostic technologies may not be the best fit for this Challenge, unless they have a demonstrated impact on improving care-delivery processes beyond typical product interventions.

  13. How far along does my innovation have to be?

    The application is open to any organization or solution ranging from nearly developed to fully developed to the early stages of deployment. However, you need credible demonstrated evidence that your solution can significantly impact the U.S. health care delivery system. This means your solution needs to be implemented in at least one setting.

  14. What criteria will the evaluation committee use?

    Our judging panel will evaluate applications based on criteria such as impact and value creation potential, credible evidence of idea, dissemination plan, and other participants' comments.

  15. I am not a Harvard alum. Can I still apply?

    Absolutely! Anyone can participate in the Health Acceleration Challenge.

  16. I want to participate but don't have an innovation.

    Even if you don't have an innovation you can contribute on a variety of levels, ranging from applauding and commenting on ideas to contributing complex concepts.

  17. How much time and effort does it take to be part of the Challenge?

    The application only has a few questions and requires less than 1,000 words. It shouldn't take too long to complete.

  18. What happens to my intellectual property on the Health Acceleration Challenge platform?

    Our application does not ask for detailed IP information, and there is no reason you have to disclose this to anyone on the platform if you are not comfortable doing so.

All applicants to the HBS-HMS Health Acceleration Challenge must:

  • Submit an application in English by September 29, 2014 at 11:59 PM ET using the OpenForum platform, and agree to the OpenForum terms of service, which can be reviewed here.

  • Be willing to provide additional material and references and allow data to be audited if requested by the Challenge team.

  • Be available to be contacted by email or telephone at any point in the evaluation process and be available for a video or phone interview with a member of the evaluation committee during the time period of October 21 – November 19, 2014.

  • Agree to comply with all national and international laws governing the transfer of any prize money across national and international boundaries if selected as a finalist and awarded funding. Individuals who are listed on the U.S. Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals List or who reside in countries or regions subject to U.S. sanctions are not eligible to participate.

  • Be willing to provide tax identification information upon request.

  • Be willing to share all application information with the public. Contestants should not disclose any information that is proprietary or confidential.

  • Be available and responsive to questions between November 20, 2014 and April 14, 2015, so that an HBS case study can be written about the innovation.

  • Travel to Boston at own expense in April 2015, in order to present at the Forum on Health Care Innovation conference.

  • Be willing to comply with Harvard University’s use of name and endorsement policies, as established by the Harvard Trademark Office. Any non-compliance will result in disqualification.