The California HealthCare Foundation, user-centered design agency Mad Pow, and Health 2.0 are sponsoring a design challenge for technologists, aimed at helping patients and provider organizations understand the environmental, social, and economic complexities affecting the onset and progression of disease. Prizes range from $2,000 to $5,000 and submissions are due by June 27.

"One reason for Americans' poor health outcomes is the minimal attention paid to the contextual issues that contribute to the onset and progression of disease — issues like hunger, poor housing conditions, stress, and isolation," the CHCF said in announcing the challenge. "There is growing consensus that the healthcare system must understand the hurdles in a patient's life that impact their health in order to provide effective care, but there is not yet a good way to engage patients to proactively share this information."

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