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ONC Awards $1.5M to Improving Health Data Exchange

ONC awards focus on the use of health IT standards to improve health data exchange.

By Kyle Murphy, PhD

- Healthcare providers and patients are to be the beneficiaries of $1.5 million in awards made by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to seven recipients of two funding programs to improve health data exchange via solutions based on health IT standards.

Health data exchange at ONC

“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,” National Coordinator  Vindell Washington, MD, MHCM, said in an official announcement. “These programs will serve as key building blocks for improving the patient and provider experience with the flow of health information.”

According to the federal agency, seven recipients will each receive a share of the $1.5 million made available through two funding opportunities — the High Impact Pilot and Standards Exploration Award.

The former program has four recipients:

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 - PDF. 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 promising 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 (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 latter program has three:

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 (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

The awardees are expected to report their results next September.

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