ONC launches challenge for reporting patient safety events app

By Mary Mosquera
10:50 AM
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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has kicked off a developer challenge to innovate tools to make it easier to report patient safety events to improve care.

Hospitals struggle to increase internal incident reporting, especially by busy physicians and nurses, and to create effective systems for the quality and risk management staff to do root cause analyses and follow-up.

Patient safety organizations (PSOs) listed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) create a safe environment for healthcare providers to collect, aggregate and analyze data without fear of legal discovery.

With this challenge, ONC asks multi-disciplinary teams to develop an application that enables reporting of patient safety events, whether in hospital or ambulatory care settings, according to an announcement in the April 11 Federal Register.

Developers need to submit their applications by end of the day July 23. The first prize award is $50,000, followed by $15,000 and $5,000 awards.

The solution needs to make it easier for any individual to file a patient safety report electronically and capture the data using AHRQ’s Common Formats but allow for additional elements and notes. AHRQ coordinates the development of a set of common definitions and reporting formats that enable providers to voluntarily collect and submit standardized information regard patient safety events. Standardized data elements enable valid comparisons of similar cases.

But the developer’s application must also allow the hospital quality and risk management staff to add information from follow-up investigations, submit reports as needed to patient safety organizations, the state, or the Food and Drug Administration and track follow-up activities.

The application will also use nationwide health information network (NwHIN) standards and services, including for transport via Direct or web services, patient summary and transitions of care standard formats for content and standardized vocabularies.

[Q&A: ONC's Wil Yu on how app contests offer more than money.]

Technologically, this application would also:
• Enable providers to import relevant electronic health record, personal health record and other electronic information, including screenshots, to the patient safety report and, in turn, submit an AHRQ Common Formats-compliant report to one or more patient safety organizations
• Capture useful demographic and other relevant data from each patient including age, gender, race and relevant diagnoses
• Be platform-agnostic

Registration and information about ONC Investing in Innovation (i2) Challenge is available on the agency's web page.