By: Ankur Gupta, MS 1 and Iltifat Husain, MS 4

The American Medical Association (AMA) has a challenge for medical students, residents, and physicians.  They’re calling it the “2011 AMA App Challenge”.

There are thousands of dollars at stake, along with a trip to New Orleans. Before you fret, the challenge doesn’t require you to actually create and develop an app from scratch — rather, the contest is about finding the best idea for a medical app.

There will be two grand prizes awarded, one for the best medical student, resident, or fellow’s idea, and the other for the best physician’s idea.  Entries will be taken until June 30th of this year, with two grand prize winners each getting a $1000 American Express Card, a $1500 Apple Store gift card, and a trip for two to New Orleans, where the idea will be presented at the AMA meeting in November.

As always, there are eligibility restrictions — such as being a U.S. licensed physician and others.  The requirements can be found here.

What type of medical app is the AMA looking for? They break it down nicely on their website, even giving the percentages.

* Useful and engaging to the target audience (25 percent)
The target audience is physicians, residents/fellows and/or medical students.

* An appropriate fit with the AMA and its mission (25 percent)
The AMA’s mission is to promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health.

*New, innovative and unique (20 percent)
Please research what exists before submitting an App Idea by doing a general Internet search and then a search of app stores.

*Suitable for app format (20 percent)
If you’re not familiar with the structure of apps, please visit YouTube or other such sites where you can see sample medical apps demonstrated.

*Representative of your expertise (10 percent)
Your skill set, experience and medical/technical background will also be considered in evaluating your App Idea.

This contest could be an exciting way to both highlight the impact mHealth already has on health care today, and to encourage medical professionals to brainstorm ideas with a relatively low time investment.  The entry forms are short, require no longer than a few minutes to fill out, and there is no associated fee.

Good luck brainstorming!

Editors Note: As one of our astute commenters points out — the AMA will own the rights to any ideas you submit (even if you don’t win), so if you plan on actually developing the app yourself, this isn’t a contest for you.

AMA’s App idea submission page