HHS grants $1.5 million to boost health data flow

Seven organizations will split the funds in multiple efforts to use health IT for projects ranging from a patient-centered data model to interoperable, bi-directional behavioral health data exchange.
By Bill Siwicki
01:58 PM
HHS health data flow

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, known as the ONC, has awarded $1.5 million to seven recipients of two Cooperative Agreement programs with the goal of improving the flow of health information.

The seven organizations will share the $1.5 million to boost their efforts to create standards-based solutions that facilitate the exchange of health information. Lessons learned from these programs should help advance innovation in using digital health information by testing new approaches to improve the way healthcare is provided and to enhance health data’s impact on the provider and patient experience, the ONC said.

“We are excited to support these innovative projects that advance the use of common standards to improve care, particularly in the categories of comprehensive medication management, laboratory data exchange and care coordination,” said Vindell Washington, MD, national coordinator for health information technology. “These programs will serve as key building blocks for improving the patient and provider experience with the flow of health information.” 

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At the Health Datapalooza Conference in May 2016, the ONC announced the High Impact Pilot and Standards Exploration Award funding opportunities, which generated interest from more than 35 applicants, the ONC reported. Winning selections were based on several factors, including a program’s ability to address health IT challenges, scalability, potential impact, technical approach, innovation, creativity, and alignment with the goals of HHS to unlock health data and improve the health of Americans.

The four organizations awarded part of the $1.5 million through the High Impact Pilot include:

  • The Health Collaborative. The Heartland Pilot is a partnership between The Health Collaborative and the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative. It will use existing standards to advance a “network of networks” model as part of a patient-centered data model pilot project.
  • Lantana Consulting Group. This project will create a new standard for electronic pharmacist care plans, which have not been included in the Interoperability Standards Advisory. The project pilot will use health IT standards to integrate pharmacist care plans into coordination efforts for patient care across the health continuum.
  • RxREVU Inc. This collaborative project between RxREVU, a Denver-based prescription intelligence company, and the Banner Health System, plans to leverage patient-specific data shared via Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) – a new interoperability standard – to reduce overall prescription drug spending, provide useful information on patient medication adherence and operationalize organizational best practices.
  • The University of Utah. This community primary care project will allow clinicians and the University of Utah’s vascular surgery service that use common electronic health record platforms to share information through a closed-loop surgical referrals dashboard. This app will be designed to integrate with commercially available EHRs using the emerging Sustainable Medical Applications and Reusable Technologies on FHIR standard.

The three organizations awarded part of the $1.5 million through the Standards Exploration Awards are:

  • Arkansas Office of Health Information Technology. The Arkansas project will implement interoperable, bi-directional health information exchange with behavioral health providers.
  • Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The Cincinnati project will explore the cost efficiencies of integrating healthcare and clinical research systems with the medical center’s electronic health record. This will enable patient data from the EHR to be used for research as well as direct patient care more efficiently.
  • Sysbiochem. In collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital, Intermountain Healthcare and Massachusetts General Hospital, Sysbiochem is developing services to facilitate the integrated flow of data between an EHR, laboratory informatics system and an analytics application to help clinicians coordinate care for breast cancer patients.

The organizations are tasked with reporting results to the ONC by September 15, 2017. 

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Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bill.siwicki@himssmedia.com

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