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HHS Announces New Funding to Advance Common Standards

September 28, 2016
by Heather Landi
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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) announced seven recipients of two funding opportunities with the aim of improving the flow of health information.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, the University of Utah, Banner Health System, Boston Children’s Hospital, Intermountain Healthcare, and Massachusetts General Hospital are among the healthcare provider organizations that are collaborating on projects as part of ONC’s High Impact Pilot (HIP) and Standards Exploration Award (SEA) funding opportunities.

The awardees will share a total of $1.5 million to create standards-based solutions that facilitate the exchange of health information. According to an announcement from ONC, the lessons learned from these efforts will help advance innovation in using electronic health information by testing new approaches to improve the way health care is provided and its impact on the provider and patient experience.

At the Health Datapalooza Conference this past May, ONC announced the HIP and SEA funding opportunities which generated interest from more than 35 applicants. Winning selections were based on several factors, including the programs’ ability to address health IT challenges, scalability, potential impact, technical approach, innovation, creativity, and each program’s alignment with the goals of the department to unlock health data, according to ONC.

The awardees for the High Impact Pilot programs are:

The Health Collaborative: The Heartland Pilot is a partnership between The Health Collaborative and the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC). 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 (ePhCP), 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) 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 (EHR) platforms to share information through a novel closed-loop surgical referrals dashboard application. This app will be designed to integrate with commercially available EHRs using the emerging Sustainable Medical Applications and Reusable Technologies (SMART) on FHIR standard.

The awardees for 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 EHR. 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 analytic application to help clinicians coordinate care for  breast cancer patients

Awardees are expected to report results by September 2017.

“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,” Vindell Washington, M.D., national coordinator for health information technology, said in a prepared statement. “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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