Do you have what it takes to innovate a new method of fall prevention?

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 8, 2017)—AARP Services, Inc. (ASI) and UnitedHealthcare have launched a four-month innovation challenge to identify new solutions for preventing falls among older adults.

OpenIDEO, known for activating global communities, has been engaged to facilitate the challenge program. Participants are encouraged to develop breakthrough solutions in fall prevention, an underserved area of healthy aging.

The innovation challenge is open to anyone, including entrepreneurs, technologists, designers, researchers and clinicians. Through an online workshop, participants and a multidisciplinary advisory group will share research, and develop, prototype and refine their ideas.

Winners will be selected in June for two awards: Most Promising Idea and Most Viable Solution. In addition to cash awards, winners receive access to ASI’s iCare Research Panel for usability/concept testing. The Most Viable Solution winner may also have the opportunity, if it’s a fit, to participate in CareConnection, ASI’s solutions pilot website.

Falls and fall-related injuries are a major concern among older adults and their caregivers. One in four older adults falls each year, yet less than half tell their doctors. Ninety-five percent of hip fractures are caused by falls, can reduce life expectancy by 10 to 15 percent. Current solutions focus on fall monitoring and detection, and less on fall prevention.

“We talked with hundreds of caregivers and older adults, and falls are one of their major concerns,” said Sanjay Khurana, vice president caregiving, ASI. “By harnessing the power of this community of innovators, we hope to generate practical new ideas and solutions that help minimize the risk of falls.”

In 2014, 29 million falls were reported among people 65 and over, with 7 million of those falls resulting in injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls among older adults cost the U.S. health care system $34 billion in direct medical costs. These costs are expected to rise to more than $67 billion by 2020.

“A fall can be traumatic for older adults and drastically affect their health and quality of life,” said Efrem Castillo, M.D., chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement. “Innovators who participate in this challenge can meaningfully improve the health and well-being of millions of older adults by helping us rethink fall prevention.”

To learn more about the challenge click here.

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