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ONC Launches Health Data Provenance Challenge

April 10, 2017
by Heather Landi
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As the movement of health information increases among consumers and providers, so does the need to track data provenance with each information update and/or exchange event. To address this issue, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has launched a challenge to the industry to help identify the current capabilities and methods used by the industry to convey the provenance of health data as it is used to support clinical care.

Under the challenge, named “Oh, the Places Data Goes: Health Data Provenance” Challenge, organizations will be provided the opportunity to win funding to develop and test solutions related to the provenance of health data.

ONC is hosting an informational webinar about the challenge on Friday, April 21st, and more information can be found here.

As health information exchange becomes more widespread and patient generated health data more commonplace, ONC says industry stakeholders will increasingly depend on understanding issues such as: Who created the original health information? Where was the original health information created? When was the original health information created? What information has been changed? Why has the information been changed?

In a Health IT Buzz blog post about the challenge, Steven Posnack, director of ONC’s Office of Standards and Technology, said that data provenance provides the ability to trace and verify when and who created information, how it has been used or moved among different data sources, and how it is altered throughout its lifecycle. “Similarly, increased use of provenance data by health IT systems may help improve the ability to identify erroneous information as well as support error identification, notification and correction both upstream and downstream, which in turn may lead to improvements in patient safety and data accuracy,” Posnack wrote.

Further, he stated, “Data provenance is also a complex issue that plays a role in almost everything related to electronic data use and exchange. Thus, finding innovative and standardized solutions to improve and capture data provenance will enable the health care industry to better maximize health data that is already digitized and ready to share.”

According to Posnack, the challenge will be conducted in two phases. For Phase 1, participants must submit white papers that describe their current capabilities and methods used to demonstrate provenance of health data. Participants must also identify a problem they experience that inhibits the desired or necessary amount of provenance data to be conveyed during clinical care and propose a solution.

Only Phase 1 winners will be eligible to participate in the second and final phase, which involves the development and testing of their solution to the problem identified in Phase 1, Posnack wrote.

Prizes will be awarded at the end of each phase to the teams who best meet challenge requirements. A total of $180,000 in prizes will be available through the entirety of the challenge. For Phase 1, up to four winners will each be awarded $20,000. For Phase 2, the first place winner will be awarded $60,000 and 2nd place will be awarded $40,000.

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