WASHINGTON – A partnership between the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the Public Health Agency of Canada has spurred competitions in each country to generate innovative ideas to collect precise wellness data from people’s daily activities and help public health experts make more informed health policy recommendations.
With a prize of $100,000 for the U.S. competition, the Healthy Behavior Data Challenges will focus on the use of new technologies such as wearable devices and mobile applications to collect data related to nutrition, sleep, physical activity and sedentary behavior.
“Receiving accurate data is crucial for informing decision-making policies for both public health agencies,” said Dr. Don Wright, acting assistant secretary for health at HHS, in a statement. “Any and all citizens in both countries can be part of a monumental change in how we receive information and insight into the population’s health and wellbeing.”
Public health experts have traditionally relied on self-reported data from online questionnaires, in-person interviews and telephone surveys to gain insight into a population’s health, according to HHS.
“Real-time data sources are emerging with greater potential to provide a more accurate and complete picture of human health,” Wright said.
The competitions will include parallel data challenges that will run separately in both the U.S. and Canada.
“This challenge is about encouraging innovative solutions that improve quality of life,” said the Honourable Jane Philpott, Canadian Minister of Health, in a statement.