SOURCE: InnoCentive

October 05, 2010 08:36 ET

InnoCentive and the Joseph H. Kanter Family Foundation Launch Challenge to Develop Healthcare Activist Community

Foundation Seeks Ways to Build a Collaborative National Outcome for Healthcare

WALTHAM, MA--(Marketwire - October 5, 2010) -  InnoCentive, Inc., the world leader in Challenge-based innovation, today announced it has issued a Challenge with the Joseph H. Kanter Family Foundation seeking innovative ideas for creating a collaborative activist network; advocating the sharing of healthcare information.

A solution to this Challenge will be the first step in empowering both patients and medical professionals to make better informed health decisions by tracking and assessing the clinical effectiveness of various medical treatments. The collaborative activist network, ideally consisting of at least five million members, would include patients, families, patient advocates, healthcare professionals, and the public. Connected through social media, web 2.0, and other traditional and novel mediums, the network's purpose would be to advocate for the sharing of anonymized data from electronic health records (EHRs) as a tool in better diagnosing and treating illnesses. The Challenge will run for 30 days with a guaranteed award of $5,000 for the best submission.

The Kanter Family Foundation believes that real-world health outcomes data should be aggregated using anonymous information from millions of EHRs. In the organization's estimate, aggregating approximately 50 million records would provide a basis for informed, scientific-based health decisions by the patients and their clinicians. Equally important, the Kanter Family Foundation seeks to raise awareness among patients, healthcare professionals, and policy makers about the organization's vision and approach. 

According to Joseph H. Kanter, chairman of the Kanter Family Foundation, "Today there is little documentation to provide alternative treatments or procedures. We need a system that helps patients and their doctors understand how to better treat disease. Many doctors are merely speculating about a diagnosis. If we can develop a world-wide data sharing network for every treatment and outcome, both patients and doctors will have a better chance to make a more informed decision on which course of treatment to pursue. We hope through this Challenge, we will spread the word that every treatment and every outcome has to be shared so that we stop the practice of experimenting on patients like guinea pigs. Building on this Challenge, we hope to start up an activist network to advocate for replacing trial-and-error medicine with a health system that learns from patient experiences for the benefit of the patients."

For over a decade and a half, philanthropist Joseph H. Kanter and the Kanter Family Foundation/Health Legacy Partnership have been advocating for the development of a learning health system that would put the patient at its center -- by collecting real-world data on patient experiences and empowering patients and their clinicians to collaboratively choose the best treatment for each particular patient. This drive has been inspired by personal experience of Mr. Kanter, who, as a septuagenarian prostate cancer patient in the early 1990s, needed to make a life-or-death decision on the course of treatment to pursue. To Mr. Kanter's frustration, his doctors were able to offer him only anecdotal experience, without hard evidence to support the efficacy of different available treatments. A number of medical professionals now believe that as many as eight out of ten doctors' recommendations to patients are based solely on anecdotal experience, and not on any objective scientific data.

The Kanter Family Foundation has successfully built bipartisan support for this vision of a learning health system. "This is so simple, so logical and so powerful in its implementation that it boggles the mind our society has not done this before now," said former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-ME).

Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS), a prostate cancer survivor, stated that, "It would have been nice at that time to have an outcomes database and review it with a doctor who could say, 'Well, we've done this, this, this, and this, and this seems to be the most successful.'" Dole also said that "Anyone who says one man can't make a difference hasn't met Joe Kanter." 

"With information on healthcare so widely available on the internet, it's incredible that actual medical data has not been made available in an aggregated form," said Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of InnoCentive. "The Kanter Family Foundation has an ambitious charter -- improving healthcare and empowering patients to be part of their own medical treatment. We're glad to provide our innovation platform as a tool in making this vision a reality."

About the Joseph H. Kanter Family Foundation
The Joseph H. Kanter Family Foundation has played a critical leadership role in raising awareness of and advancing the creation of a National Health Outcomes Data Sharing Network, the research findings of which can be easily understood and accessed by patients and clinicians. The Kanter Foundation's "Health Legacy Partnership," cofounded with the United States Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) includes more than 8,000 partners including nationally recognized leaders, corporations, federal agencies, national health foundations, and stakeholders from every sector of healthcare. For more information, please visit: and

About InnoCentive, Inc.
Since 2001, InnoCentive has helped corporate, government, and non-profit organizations to better innovate through an open innovation methodology and comprehensive approach we call Challenge-driven innovation. InnoCentive's innovation platform includes access to the InnoCentive Solver Network of over 200,000 engineers, scientists, inventors, business professionals, and research organizations in more than 200 countries and InnoCentive@Work -- A Software as a Service platform that allows organizations to more effectively tap into the knowledge and expertise within their business networks to solve their most pressing problems InnoCentive ONRAMP and Consulting Services ensure rapid and successful start-up, and a sustainable Innovation program.

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