ONC, Health 2.0 launch popHealth app challenge

By Mary Mosquera
10:13 AM

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and the Health 2.0 entrepreneurial organization have opened a contest for developers to innovate with the popHealth tool beyond its reporting functions so healthcare providers can learn more about their patient populations and improve their care.

popHealth is an open source reference implementation software service that can automate the calculation and reporting of the ambulatory care clinical quality measures in stage one of meaningful use. Its data gathering and calculation capabilities make it easier for providers to discern trends in patient populations.

[Related: BYOT, Invited or not, tablets are coming to your workplace.]

With this challenge, developers will create applications that use popHealth’s open source framework, existing functionality, standards, and sample datasets so providers can improve patient safety, better engage with patients and address disparities in the care they provide to their patient populations, according to an Oct. 7 announcement from ONC and Health 2.0.

The first place prize is $75,000 and $20,000 for second place. Developers must submit their entries by Feb. 3, 2012.

popHealth can also be used to aggregate data from across multiple sites to allow public health entities to develop a more clearly defined picture of the health status and risk factors within their communities and to target patients with high disease burden in need of early intervention, called “hotspotting.”

popHealth integrates with a healthcare provider’s electronic health record (EHR) system using continuity of care records. The tool uses standard clinical data from the extensible mark-up language (XML) continuity of care formats required in the current meaningful use certification program. Those two standards are Health Level 7’s Continuity of Care C32 Document (CCD) and the ASTM International’s Continuity of Care Record (CCR).

[Q&A: Todd Park on the bridge between HHS' Health Data Initiative and meaningful use.]

popHealth has been tested with a Staten Island, NY, solo practitioner using it with eClinical Works’ EHR, one in North Carolina using it with AthenaHealth’s service, and a third one in Chicago, according to Mitre, a not-for profit research and engineering organization that has engineered the tool for ONC.