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Challenge Improving Adherence for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment
Improving Adherence for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment
STATUS: Awarded
Active Solvers: 276
Posted: Aug 22 2016
Challenge ID: 9933907
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Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) affects millions of individuals in the United States and many more worldwide. Fortunately, an effective non-surgical treatment exists in the form of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device used while sleeping. Unfortunately, adherence to the use of a CPAP for people diagnosed with OSA lies in the 40-50% range despite past efforts to improve devices and educate patients. The Seeker is looking for innovative solutions for increasing adherence to CPAP treatment for OSA. Solutions may take a wide range of approaches to address the psychological, physical, or comfort issues faced by people who should be using a CPAP but are not.

This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a condition in which an individual’s airway collapses or becomes blocked while sleeping leading to pauses in breathing that may last up to several minutes. This significantly reduces the quality of sleep and can trigger many adverse physiological responses. Untreated OSA can lead to excessive sleepiness and an increased risk for a number of life-threatening medical conditions. Using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine keeps the airway from collapsing or becoming blocked during sleep and is an effective treatment for OSA when used regularly. Currently, only 40-50% of diagnosed patients prescribed CPAP therapy for their OSA actually adhere to their treatment plan – in other words, use it every night and for the entire sleep period. Some patients deliberately avoid CPAP use for various psychological, physical, and comfort reasons while others inadvertently remove the CPAP mask during sleep, especially in the middle of the night. Other people experience excessive leak of air around the mask or have trouble using the CPAP mask due to leak around the mask or mouth breathing. People with facial hair, mouth breathers and who have very restless sleep may have particular problems. Adherence to OSA treatment with a CPAP is generally established within the first 30 days of use, suggesting that early patterns of use influence later use patterns.

This Challenge is focused on finding innovative solutions for improving adherence with CPAP as a treatment for OSA. Solutions may address this goal from any of a number of directions and may range all the way from outreach and educational programs and peer support to technical solutions such as better mask technology. While a motivating factor for the Seeker is that football players, both active and retired, have a higher rate of diagnosed OSA than the general population, the solutions being sought are not limited to ideas specific to football players themselves.

This is an Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:

  • There is a guaranteed award.  The awards will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the Seeker. The total payout will be $10,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $1,000.
  • The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker.  Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solver grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal, including for promotional purposes.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on September 21, 2016.

Late submissions will not be considered.

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided.


Drawing on expertise from across Harvard University, the Football Players Health Study is dedicated to understanding the causes of conditions former NFL players face, with the goal of improving their health and well being. The study is comprised of a series of research initiatives that address the whole player, the whole life. It’s the largest study of living former NFL players, with over 3000 participants participating in the first questionnaire, and several hundred engaged in other activities such as TeamStudy, an iPhone app.

What is InnoCentive?
InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

What is an InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge?

An InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge is a broad question formulated to obtain access to new ideas, similar to a global brainstorm for producing a breakthrough idea or market survey which may include ideas for a new product line, a new commercial application for a current product, or even a viral marketing idea to recruit new customers. Ideation™ Challenge submissions are typically about two written pages, and Seekers receive a non-exclusive, perpetual license to use all submissions.

In an Ideation™ Challenge, Solvers may:

  • Submit ideas of their own
  • Submit third party information that they have the right to use and further the authority to convey that right and the right to use and develop derivative works to Seekers
  • Submit information considered in the public domain without any limitations on use

Solvers should not reveal any confidential information in their submissions. Often the Ideation™ Challenge will be followed by one or more of the other three Challenge types to further develop the ideas and gain Intellectual Property protection when the concept has been well-defined.

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