Commute Driving You Mad? Let’s Determine How and Why

The ONC is excited to launch the new Investing in Innovations challenge “Health Innovations in Commuting.” The i2 program utilizes prizes and challenges to facilitate innovation and obtain solutions to intractable health IT problems.  Aligned with the Obama administration’s innovation agenda, i2 is the first federal program to operate under the authority of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act.

Commuting is a fundamental aspect of working in the United States, comprising 20% of all trips taken. Among the 140 million workers in America, 86% commuted in a car, truck, or van in 2009. The average commute is 25 minutes, while 3.2 million workers traveled for more than 90 minutes. (“Commuting in the United States: 2009,” U.S. Census Bureau)

Commuting has been shown to correlate with a variety of health problems, as long commutes are associated with high cholesterol, recurring neck and back pain, and higher stress levels. However, these results have come primarily from population studies on general health impact rather than the analysis of granular data collected from individual commuters.

The rise of new technologies such as mobile computing and inexpensive data-collecting sensors should open up new frontiers in determining the effects of commuting on health. The “Health Innovations in Commuting Challenge” intends to put the pedal to the metal by inviting innovators to submit their best ideas and models for improving the health of American commuters through better collection, exchange, and analysis of health data. Entries will be evaluated on the novelty of the proposal in driving improvement in health outcomes, the understanding of the effects of commuting on outcomes, and the identification and utility of potential future partnerships.

Think you have the next great idea? Submissions are due by April 13, 2012. Complete details are available here.

For additional information about the Investing in Innovation (i2) program, visit Health 2.0′s ONC page.

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