Improving PTSD, TBI Care Through Crowdsourcing

Chances are you have heard the saying “two heads are better than one.” But what about 20, 50, 100 or even 1,000 heads?

Now we’re talking crowdsourcing – a way of engaging a broad audience to share ideas and help solve complex challenges. Using crowdsourcing in the digital age has become a no-brainer. TBI Challenge2

In May, the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury launched the Mental Health and TBI Care Challenge. It’s a crowdsourcing effort to find and fill gaps in care for service members and civilians struggling with TBI and post-traumatic stress disorder.

You can show support for the military community by registering original ideas  on the challenge site through June 5. The ideas can address TBI prevention, a product or service that helps caregivers, a way to help fulfill productive work roles or anything related to improving the care of people living with PTSD and/or TBI.

A few of the ideas that have been submitted so far include a biofeedback watch, online art therapy, a smartphone application to manage fatigue, training for military leaders, wider education for spouses and outreach to schools and athletic coaches. The strongest entries will include actionable ideas to benefit patients, families and clinicians

“We’ve used crowdsourcing before, but mostly with our internal community,” said Navy Capt. Richard F. Stoltz, the DCoE director. “This challenge seeks input from everyone – government, civilian and other agencies, and people that we don’t associate with as often as we should, such as medical students and technology labs.”

The challenge is attracting entries from service members, veterans, military spouses, clinicians, teachers and researchers – many of whom are far from experts on the subject.  For Stoltz, the wide range of people submitting is as important as the actual ideas.

“We’re seeing impressive entries both from experts and non-experts,” he said. “It shows that PTSD and TBI are about more than combat injuries; they’re also about civilians coping with head injuries or severe stress, and about their families.”

Even if you don’t have a suggestion for care, you can visit the Mental Health & TBI Care Challenge online community and vote for the ideas you like or comment on someone else’s idea to make it better.

The challenge is open for new ideas, comments and votes until June 5. The winner, which will be chosen by the DCoE, gets to pitch his or her submission to senior military health leaders.

Enter today and tell your friends – after all, several heads are better than one!

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