Healthcare on Wheels - Ford Motor Co. & Henry Ford Health System Announce Tech Design Challenge That Merges Automobiles & Medicine

December 14, 2015


Ford Motor Co. and Henry Ford Health System are co-sponsoring an innovation challenge that seeks – and rewards - employees who team up to dream up smart-phone apps, wearable devices or in-vehicle systems that extend health care to the confines of the car.

Ideas for the Connected Health App Challenge include but are not limited to designs that offer: in-vehicle health monitoring and warnings, medical test ordering and records access from the road, appointment check-ins, prescription pick-ups and data collection that can be transmitted to a doctor’s office or hospital. The car and technology do the work while the driver stays focused on the road.

Ideal designs will increase touch points between patients and care providers and in the process expand the boundaries of patient monitoring.

“There’s no limit to the ideas that we’re looking for. Big ideas, small ideas. We’re looking for ways to use technology to do things as simple as increasing convenience for the health consumer and improving the driver experience, to as significant as saving lives,” says Ward Detwiler, Associate Director, Henry Ford Health System Innovations. “There is a clear need to extend patient care beyond the doctor’s office or hospital visit, both to improve patient wellness and lower overall healthcare costs.”

The challenge kicks off at the Ford Conference & Event Center on Jan. 20, the same day online submissions open. The website with more information and a registration link is live,

The contest unfolds in phases with the first phase of submissions, including concept mock-ups, due in February. Ten finalists from online submissions will be chosen in March, followed by prototypes, pitches and finally the selection of three winners by May or June. The winning design will receive $5,000; first runner-up prize $3,000; and second-runner-up $2,000. Individual submissions will be accepted, but teams composed of employees from both organizations are encouraged.

The Connected Health App Challenge is rooted in the need to serve an increasing number of people living with chronic conditions as many are expected to spend more hours behind the wheel, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“We believe this is the first challenge of its kind in the world," Detwiler says. "We are excited to see the kind of creativity that is generated when we combine the tremendous talent of these two organizations. Most importantly, we're excited about the potential to improve patient care and the business of health care overall.”

Kim North Shine
(313) 549-4995


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