The X PRIZE Foundation, a nonprofit with the motto “Revolution through Competition,” has sponsored contests in the past for space travel innovation, DNA research, and efficient cars. But the organization’s newest challenge may be its biggest: affordable, high quality health care for everyone.
The $10 million Healthcare X PRIZE, organized in collaboration with the WellPoint Foundation and health benefits company WellPoint Inc., asks entrants to generate a 50% improvement in health value in a community of 10,000 people over a three-year period. “Health value” is defined as the combination of total cost and a community health index that measures factors like improved ability to climb stairs and reduction in emergency room visits.
Teams will have 18 months to plan their proposals. At the end of the planning period, five finalists will be selected to test their models in U.S. communities of 10,000 people. WellPoint and its affiliated health plans will collaborate with employers and health-care providers to set up test communities, and the finalists’ results will be compared against a control group.
We’ll find out soon enough if promise of money can fix a system that politicians have failed to deal with for decades? If it can’t, we can always look to other countries’ health-care policies for help.