AHRQ issues app challenge for patient-reported outcomes data

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has issued a $250,000 challenge to the industry to develop an app that can collect standardized patient-reported outcomes data.

“While some digital tools exist to collect these data, they are not in wide use due to problems with integrating them in practice workflow, as well as patients’ discomfort with using such tools,” said AHRQ Director Gopal Khanna in a written statement. “This competition will address this issue and result in a user-friendly app that can enhance healthcare data collection and thereby improve the quality of care for all Americans.”

According to AHRQ, patient-reported outcomes data provides detail on a patient’s health condition without interpretation by a clinician. However, the agency’s announcement about the challenge notes that these data “are not collected and used routinely in practice in part because there is no standardized way to collect and integrate the data into health information technology systems.”

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AHRQ headquarters

AHRQ is seeking user-friendly apps that can collect standardize patient-reported outcomes data in ambulatory settings, including primary and specialty care. AHRQ’s challenge requires participants to draft technical specifications using HL7’s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard to develop the apps.

The winning app will be tested in nine practice settings affiliated with MedStar Health in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. AHRQ’s Khanna announced the Step Up App Challenge at the Blue Button 2.0 Developer Conference held on Monday at the White House.

Also See: Feds want Blue Button 2.0 initiative to spark data sharing in industry

The challenge has three phases:

  • In Phase 1 (proposal), participants will submit a five-page business proposal, demonstrating the originality and feasibility of their app idea—up to 10 winners will be selected with a prize of up to $12,000 each.
  • In Phase 2 (development), participants will develop and present an app capable of collecting standardized patient-reported outcomes data in various ambulatory care settings—with first prize worth $35,000, second prize $30,000, and third prize $25,000.
  • In Phase 3 (pilot), the grand prize winner in phase two will collaborate with MedStar Health to test the app in nine practices, and upon completion of a successful pilot test, the grand prize winner will be awarded up to $40,000, bringing the winning prize to as much as $87,000.

The submission deadline is September 24. Additional information about the challenge is available here.

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