Time flies.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology will be running a serious, important and useful Caregivers Video Challenge.

The office, an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) wants to give the nation’s caregivers tech news they can use by getting actual family caregivers to send in short videos showing how they are using information technology (IT) to ease tasks such as managing medications, managing relationships with doctors, checking in on loved ones who are elsewhere, or helping loved ones move from one type of care to another.

The videos should be 2 minutes or shorter and are due Dec. 10.

A health tech office judging panel will award prizes ranging from $600 to $3,000.

The judging will be based on creativity, potential impact, video and audio quality, and the number of Vimeo or YouTube plays.

The content is open to caregivers who are caring for children as well as those who are caring for elderly spouses, partners, parents or friends.

And, OK: This seems to be a really nice thing for HHS to do. You beloved readers could get into fistfights with one another, and with me, over whether the federal government should impose any taxes, of any kind, and whether it should ever use the proceeds for any kind of social welfare programs. 

But one thing governments are obviously good at is getting people’s attention and starting conversations. If this contest can draw private long-term care insurance (LTCI) policyholders’ attention to ideas for high-tech ways to avoid having to file LTCI claims, who could object to that?

But something about the contest announcement made me think of how much fun it would be if readers would come up with ideas for alternative HHS video contests.

My ideas:

  • The HHS LTC Facility Hunters’ Challenge: The goal would be to produce a half-hour pilot that would create an HGTV house hunters’ show for the 80something set. Ideally, the show should include one handsome brother who knows how to locate good LTC facilities and another handsome brother who knows how to renovate them.
  • The HHS Geriatric Medicine Reality TV Show Challenge: We all know how hypnotic the old shows about pregnant ladies were on the Discovery Health Channel, before the evil Oprah whooshed them away onto channels outside the basic cable channel package.  Now, it’s time to do for older people dealing with heart and kidney problems what Discover Health did for pregnant ladies facing down gestational diabetes.
  • The HHS Sandwich Generation Horror Movie Challenge: What was Nosferatu, really, but a 1922 German Expressionistic film about the difficulties that co-workers and clients face when they unwittingly end up providing nutritional care for patients suffering from a poorly controlled eating disorder? Maybe HHS could bring out a wave of great horror movies based on topics such as Alzheimer’s disease and life in intensive care waiting rooms.

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