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Public Can Vote on Health IT Projects

September 10, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently announced that the public will be able to vote on their favorite health IT innovation from the finalists of the HHSinnovates Program. The HHSinnovates aims to solve our country’s toughest healthcare challenges through various technology innovations.

“The HHSinnovates Program recognizes and rewards good ideas and facilitates the exchange of innovations throughout the Department and beyond,” Secretary Sebelius said in a statement. “Innovative ideas and practices aren’t restricted to the private sector: government workers are developing new ideas and facilitating connections to improve the way government works and improve the health of all Americans.”

Twice yearly, HHS employees are invited to submit their innovations.  The top innovations are posted for secure, online voting by the entire HHS community.  Six finalists are chosen, and publicly announced.  Previously, the Secretary would select her top picks. This time, the public will pick the “People’s Choice” winner.  The winners will be announced on Sept. 24. The six finalists are as followed:

  • The 100K Pathogen Genome Project– This project, originating from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), academia, and industry partners, looks to sequence genetic codes (genome) of 100,000 strains of important food pathogens (tiny organisms that cause foodborne illnesses – bacteria, viruses and others) and make them available in a free and public database at the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Center for Biotechnology Information. 
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Exchange– NIH’s NIAID developed an internal supply exchange for their institute called "NIAID Exchange" aiming to increase the speed and efficiency of government.  They developed a web resource where staff can advertise existing government-owned scientific and office equipment and supplies they no longer need and search for available items advertised by other staff members. 
  • Online Food Handler Training Project– The Albuquerque Area Indian Health Service (IHS) led the development of an online food handler certification program that trains an average of 3,500 food handlers a year in class room food handler trainings, while compensating for a 20 percent reduction in staff.  The training is available to the public on the IHS website, and numerous people from across the country has registered and initiated the training.
  • Development and Use of Coal Dust Explosibility Meter– The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health in association with industry and commercial partners developed a coal dust meter that gives users real-time feedback on environmental conditions – an improvement over the current way it is measured.  More than 200 of these devices have already been sold and are being deployed in mines across the United States.
  • National Health Service Corps Jobs Center– The Health Resources and Services Administration’s National Health Service Corps established the NHSC Jobs Center, an online employment site connecting thousands of job-seeking medical professionals, doctors, nurses, dentists, and mental health providers in primary care disciplines to thousands of employers in underserved communities throughout the United States and U.S. territories.
  • National Institute of Health Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools–The National Institute of Health developed a Research Health Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT) that serves as a one-stop shop to provide the public with an interactive suite of tools to search NIH-funded research and the work of its investigators. 


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