Want to help save lives? Can you create an app? The County of San Diego has been selected as one of four communities nationwide to help launch a mobile app development challenge to help prevent a million heart attacks and strokes as part of the Million Hearts initiative. The County is gaining a reputation as a leader in health innovation with the county’s Live Well, San Diego! 10-year plan to build a healthy, safe and thriving community.

“San Diego County has been leading the way in making sure our residents have access to information and opportunities to improve their personal health,” said Chairman Ron Roberts, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “It’s exciting that once the new mobile app is created, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has chosen San Diego to be a launching point for this important national education campaign.”

The Million Hearts Risk Challenge invites developers to create a mobile app that will help people take a heart health risk assessment, find places to check their blood pressure and cholesterol and use the results to improve their heart health. The app is part of a public-private effort led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that aims to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes through clinical and community prevention.

“Controlling blood pressure and managing cholesterol are essential to reducing the risk for heart disease and stroke,” said Nick Macchione, director, San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. “The Million Heart initiative aligns with our local Live Well, San Diego! efforts to reduce healthcare costs and improve the health of our region.”

The winning app developer will receive $100,000 and up to five finalists will each receive $5,000. The challenge begins today, July 27, and the winners will be announced in December. More information about the challenge is available at www.challenge.gov/ONC/398-the-million-hearts-risk-check-challenge.

“This new challenge and the supporting consumer education campaign are examples of how new consumer health information technology, using information, data and electronic tools that many health care systems and physicians are already using, can help individuals better manage their health and working closely with their care providers,” said Farzad Mostashari, M.D., Sc.M., national coordinator for health information technology.