AHRQ, Social Security Administration aim to attract FHIR developers

With a GitHub site coming and new developer challenges, the agencies are the latest to engage the developer community.
By Tom Sullivan
10:58 AM
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AHRQ Director Gopal Khanna speaking at Blue Button 2.0 Conference at the White House on Tuesday

AHRQ Director Gopal Khanna speaking at Blue Button 2.0 Developer Conference at the White House on Tuesday.

WASHINGTON, DC — The Agency for Health Research and Quality and the Social Security Administration here on Monday announced plans for kicking off challenges to identify technologies that solve specific problems.

SSA Executive Director of Health IT Jude Soundararajan said here at the White House Blue Button 2.0 Developer Conference that in September SSA will launch a GitHub site with its use case for disabilities. And he said that developer contests will follow.

"We get tons of faxes, tons of unstructured data we want to analyze. Look for challenges around that and look for challenges around FHIR for our use case," Soundararajan said. "I'm looking forward to working with the developer community."

AHRQ, for its part, kicked off the Step Up app challenge to use patient-recorded outcome data to improve both outcomes and value for patients, according to AHRQ Director Gopal Khanna.

"Patient assessment offers a complementary perspective to clinician data, thereby yielding insights into health status, function, system, burden, health behaviors and quality of life," Khanna said.

AHRQ is looking for tools that digitize the process of collecting PRO because the technologies that exist today are not standardized and many patients are not comfortable using them, Khanna added.

"We need to put our patients first," Khanna said. "The challenge is an important element in listening to the patient voice."

To that end, AHRQ will award $250,000 as part of the contest, with the grand prize winner collecting nearly $87,000.

"This is our first challenge at AHRQ," Khanna said. "But we are building an enterprise data strategy and will be announcing two new challenges in the near future." 

Also at the White House hackathon, tech giants Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Salesforce made a pledge to eradicate interoperability barriers by using cloud, FHIR and Argonaut technologies. CMS Administrator Seema Verma called on healthcare payers to make claims data available via APIs. And venture capitalist John Doerr, who is chairman of Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, shared the five characteristics of extraordinary entrepreneurs.

Twitter: SullyHIT
Email the writer: tom.sullivan@himssmedia.com