The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), Washington, D.C., is offering a $100,000 prize for the winner of the PCORI Matchmaking App Challenge, the organization's newest initiative to encourage research partnerships.

"It offers an opportunity for technology innovators to help PCORI bring the voice of patients and other stakeholders clearly and fully into the research process," PCORI staff members Orlando Gonzales and Jean Slutsky wrote in a blog post announcing the challenge. "We are inviting developers to create a fully functioning, ready-to-publish app and companion Web site that will facilitate the creation of partnerships between those interested in conducting patient-centered outcomes research."

Submitted apps must meet a variety of requirements, such as integrating with already established research networks. Though not required, social media integration and robust user profiles are strongly encouraged, as well as advanced search options and customizable displays. In the spirit of engagement, developers must work with patients and others in the design of the submitted app.

A panel of reviewers, including technology experts, PCORI staff members, and members of PCORI’s multi-stakeholder advisory panels, will evaluate the submissions. They will consider how well each entry will facilitate connections that circumvent geographic, societal, or educational limits and allow equal access for people from different backgrounds and with varying health interests and research experience. Other criteria include creativity, user-friendliness, and the developers’ past experience.

PCORI will award $100,000 for first place, $35,000 for the second place, and $15,000 for third place. The challenge is being held in cooperation with Health 2.0, a San Francisco-based company that promotes and showcases new technologies in health care.

Teams have until August 15, 2014, to submit their apps, and winners will be announced at the Health 2.0 conference on September 22, 2014.

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