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AHRQ Challenge to Enable EHR Integration of Patient Reported Data

Health IT innovators will create tools enabling EHR integration of patient-reported outcomes data.

EHR Integration

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently announced plans to launch a challenge competition in fall of 2018 to develop health IT capable of enabling EHR integration of patient-reported outcomes (PRO) data.

The competition will promote the innovation of user-friendly tools designed to leverage PRO data for use in clinical research. PRO data can also be used to inform clinical decision making, improve patient care management, and enhance care planning.

“PRO offer a complementary perspective to that of clinician assessments, and may provide greater insights into health status, function, symptom burden, adherence, health behaviors, and quality of life,” stated AHRQ in a notice in the Federal Register.

Despite the value of this kind of data, standardized tools capable of collecting PRO in a meaningful way are not widely available. As a result, the data are rarely included in patient EHRs.

“Further, while some EHR systems are currently able to capture some structured PRO data, including many of the NIH-funded Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System instruments, this information is not commonly collected in routine care,” stated AHRQ. “Thus, these data are often not available for both clinical care and research.”

In an effort to better integrate PRO data into EHR systems for improved quality care, AHRQ’s challenge competition will prompt health IT innovators to develop application programming interfaces (APIs) capable of collecting patient-reported health data in ambulatory care settings.

“Data element and data capture standards would allow for PRO assessments to be conducted and easily shared regardless of what EHR or health IT solution is being used,” AHRQ explained in the notice. “It would also allow for consistency in interpretation, and clarify the meaning of results for patient-provider communication and shared decision-making.”

Health IT developers participating in the multiphase challenge will be awarded prizes based on their ability to develop tools enabling patients to share their own physical function data with researchers and physicians.  

Vanderbilt Cancer Center to use EHR data for improved patient health outcomes

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) recently announced a new collaboration intended to better utilize EHR data to improve health outcomes for cancer patients.

The Nashville-based oncology center has partnered with health IT company Tempus for an initial research project. As part of the project, the Tempus O platform will aggregate and structure clinical data from VICC’s EHR system. The platform will then employ next-gen sequencing and analysis for a small population of patients in order to identify gene alterations.

“Empowering Vanderbilt-Ingram researchers and physicians with data, tools and evidence to help inform care and accelerate discoveries that benefit patients is a top priority,” said Executive Vice President for Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and Director of VICC Jennifer Pietenpol, PhD.

“Collaborating with Tempus will allow the Vanderbilt-Ingram team to gain a deeper understanding of a patient’s cancer and its genetic and molecular drivers, with a goal of improving patient outcomes,” she continued.

Utilizing the new data analytics platform along with its existing EHR system will enable Vanderbilt to engage applications for improvements in clinical decision support and academic research.

“The ability to synthesize and make sense of clinical and molecular data is key to personalized medicine efforts,” said Tempus Founder and CEO Eric Lefkofsky.

VICC at VUMC conducts basic, transitional, and clinical research and offers adult and pediatric oncology treatment. The cancer center is part of the 26-member National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

VUMC recently went live with its over $200-million Epic implementation in November of 2017. All clinical staff at VUMC are presently using the EHR system without a backup.

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