Investing in the Future: New Market-Ready, User-Friendly Health Technology App and Infrastructure Support
This is a cross-post from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) Blog, Health IT Buzz by Karen B. DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc., and Steven Posnack, M.S., M.H.S. / Director, Office of Standards and Technology
As a health care consumer, imagine if you were able to choose a software application (app) to create a secure snapshot of your health information, like pictures that extend over the course of your lifetime. Similarly, imagine as a health care provider if you could find apps uniquely tailored to your specialty or role on the care team and that provide the health information you need in a way that is safe, secure, intuitive, and actionable.
This is the future of health information technology (health IT) we all seek, and the rapid pace of innovation, including the development and use of new standards, continues to demonstrate that these goals are within reach. One major example is the current momentum behind the Health Level 7 - Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) standard and a growing interest across the health IT community in open, standardized application programming interfaces (APIs) using FHIR®. These industry-led efforts pave the way for a truly connected healthcare system where consumers and providers can easily and securely access electronic health information and direct it to any desired location.
ONC is committed to investing in this type of community-driven, user-focused innovation. To spur the development of these types of market-ready, user-friendly approaches, today we launched a $625,000 strategic investment to connect and accelerate the industry's use of FHIR®-based APIs for consumers and providers. This strategy has three goals:
- Help Consumers Get and Use their Data. In this first challenge contest, prizes will be awarded to consumer-facing apps that use open, standardized APIs to help consumers aggregate their data in one place that is under their control. Prizes will total up to $175,000.
- Improve User-Experience and Utility for Providers. In this second challenge contest, prizes will be awarded to apps that use open, standardized APIs to positively impact providers' experience with EHRs by making clinical workflows more intuitive, specific to clinical specialty, and actionable. Prizes will total up to $175,000.
- Coordinate Open Information About EHR App Solutions. This third coordinated action aims to help providers choose the technology that best fits their needs and workflow. ONC has published a $275,000 funding opportunity announcement that will support the development of an app discovery site that makes it easier for developers to publish their apps and for providers to discover and compare them.
Speaking of FHIR, if you haven't already, check out the two-day FHIR code-a-thon happening April 1-2, 2016 in Washington DC. At the code-a-thon, developers from Federal and State-based organizations will have the opportunity to collaborate with entrepreneurs, startups and research organizations to build cool solutions that leverage the HL7 FHIR API.