HHS, ONC awards grants for data exchange efforts

Seven healthcare organizations have received grants from two federal programs intended to improve the flow of health information through health organizations.

The awardees will share a total of $1.5 million to create standards-based solutions that facilitate the exchange of health information, according to the announcement from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

The grants, given under two Cooperative Agreement programs, are another indication of ONC’s push to improve the movement of patient healthcare information to providers who need it to provide care to patients.


The agency said it expects the lessons learned from these efforts will help advance innovation in use of electronic health information by testing new approaches to improve the way healthcare is provided and its impact on the provider and patient experience.

“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,” said Vindell Washington, MD, national coordinator for health information technology.

Grantees were selected from more than 35 applicants for funding opportunities that were announced in May. Winning selections were based on several factors, including the programs’ ability to address health IT challenges, scalability, potential impact, technical approach, innovation, creativity, and each program’s alignment with the goals of the Department to unlock health data and improve the health of Americans.

The awardees include:

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. 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.

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.

Awardees are expected to report results next September.

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