Announcing the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation SDoH & Home and Community Based Care Innovation Challenges Semi-Finalists!



Health disparities domestically and globally can often be attributed to social determinants of health (SDoH). According to Healthy People 2020, SDoH are conditions and resources in the environments in which “people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.” Examples of these include: resources to meet daily needs (e.g. access to and quality of housing and food markets), educational opportunities, employment opportunities, and transportation. Despite well-established literature on the importance of SDoH, these factors are often overlooked and excluded in health care frameworks. 

Concurrently, health services provided in traditional settings such as hospitals and clinics can be expensive and inaccessible. There are a large number of communities, from rural areas to major cities, that are in need of high-quality care. Innovative technologies can mitigate these challenges. Home and community-based care models coupled with digital tools provide the opportunity to serve patients where they feel most comfortable in a cost-effective manner. 

In an effort to spur creativity in the SDoH tech environment and improve the landscape of home based care, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Catalyst partnered to launch two Innovation Challenges on Social Determinants of Health and Home and Community Based Care

For the SDoH Challenge, innovators were asked to develop novel digital solutions that can help providers and/or patients connect to health services related to SDoH. Over 110 applications were submitted to the SDoH Challenge. For the Home and Community Based Care Challenge, applicants were asked to create technologies that support the advancement of at-home or community-based health care. Nearly 100 applications for Home and Community Based Care Challenge were received. 

After the submission period ended, an expert panel comprised of subject matter experts, venture capitalists, as well as designers evaluated the entries. Five semi-finalists from each challenge have been selected to advance to the next round:

Social Determinants of Health Semi-Finalists

  • Community Resource Network – The Social Determinants of Health Client Profile, a part of the Community Resource Network, creates a whole-person picture across physical, behavioral, and social domains to expedite help for those most at risk, fill in the gaps in care, and optimize well-being.
  • Open City Labs – A company that matches patients with community services and government benefits that address SDoH seamlessly. The platform will integrate with HIEs to automate referral, eligibility screening & benefits enrollment.
  • Project Well – A company that personalizes food and social dining interventions to address food insecurity, social isolation, and strained household budgets for health plan members with chronic disease.
  • Smart Community Health – A team from the University of Minnesota with a full service community resource recommendation system that uses PRISM mobile app technology integrated with MyStrengths+MyHealth to provide personalized community resources.
  • Social Impact AI Lab New York – A consortium of nonprofit social services agencies and technology providers with artificial intelligence solutions to address social disconnection in child welfare.

Home & Community Based Care Semi-Finalists

  • CareTree – A company with “HIPAA-compliant Facebook” that guides families to manage a loved one’s care.
  • Epharmix – A company that scales remote patient monitoring for 24 conditions using accessible SMS & IVR to collect real-time patient health data. Provider alerts enable proactive care for patients worsening.
  • Heal – Heal doctor house calls paired with Heal Hub remote patient monitoring and telemedicine offer a complete connected care solution for patients with chronic conditions.
  • Ooney – PrehabPal, a home-based web-app for older adults, delivers individualized prehabilitation to accelerate postoperative functional recovery and return to independence after surgery.
  • WizeView – A company that uses artificial intelligence to automate and organize information collected during home visits, supporting the management of medically complex populations at the lowest cost per encounter.

The semi-finalists for the Challenges will be awarded $5,000 each to further develop their application or tool. After a second application round, three finalists from each Challenge will be chosen to compete at a live pitch event during the Health 2.0 Conference (September 16th-18th). They will demo their technology in front of a captivated audience of health care professionals, investors, provider organizations, and members of the media. Judges will select the first, second, and third place winners live after a series of short demos from the finalists. The winners will be awarded $40,000 for first place, $25,000 for second place, and $10,000 for third place.

For further updates on the semi-finalists of the RWJF SDoH and Home and Community Based Care Innovation Challenge and other programs, subscribe to the Catalyst @ Health 2.0 Newsletter, and follow on Twitter @catalyst_h20.

Catalyst @ Health 2.0 (“Catalyst”) is the industry leader in digital health strategic partnering, hosting competitive innovation “challenge” events, as well as developing and implementing programs for piloting and commercializing novel healthcare technologies.