The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has announced initial winners of two separate app challenges that leverage Health Level Seven’s emerging Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard and open application programming interfaces (APIs).

Participants in Phase 1 of both the ONC Consumer Health Data Aggregator Challenge and Provider User Experience Challenge were required to submit a series of plans for their proposed apps, including designs or screenshots; technical specifications; business and sustainability plans; and proposed provider or electronic health record vendor partners to test them.

“It is exciting to see the level of innovation that is taking place in health IT today,” said Vindell Washington, MD, principal deputy national coordinator. “The apps that these challenges will produce have the potential to spur real-world improvements for individuals and clinicians throughout the health system.”

Phase 1 winners of the ONC Consumer Health Data Aggregator Challenge include:

  • Green Circle Health: The Green Circle platform intends to provide a comprehensive family health dashboard covering the full Common Clinical Data Set and use FHIR to transfer patient information. It will also incorporate patient-generated health data from wearables, sensors and other connected devices.
  • HealthCentrix: The Prevvy Family Health Assistant app suite provides the capabilities to manage an entire family’s health and wellness, including targeted information exchange. The platform incorporates both FHIR and Direct messaging with EHRs certified to Meaningful Use Stage 2.
  • Medyear: Medyear’s mobile app utilizes FHIR to merge a patient’s records from multiple sources into one clean interface. It borrows a social media-like news feed style to show real-time EHR updates and provides easy functionality to message and call clinicians.
  • MetroStar Systems: The Locket app brings patient information from different EHRs together into a single mobile device. The app provides additional capabilities, including paper-free check in and appointment scheduling and reminders.

In addition, ONC announced the winners of the Provider User Experience Challenge, which also “promotes the use of FHIR, but focuses on demonstrating how data made accessible to apps through APIs can enhance providers’ experience with EHRs by making clinical workflows more intuitive, specific to clinical specialty, and actionable.”

The Phase 1 winners of the ONC Provider User Experience Challenge are:

  • Herald Health: The Herald platform leverages FHIR to highlight the patient information that clinicians need the most. Its integration of FHIR will help enable highly customizable, IFTTT-like (“if this, then that”) alerts based on real-time EHR data.
  • PHRASE Health: PHRASE (Population Health Risk Assessment Support Engine) Health aims to create a clinical decision support platform, to help better manage emerging illnesses, incorporate more external data sources into the identification of at-risk patients, and enable the two-way exchange of data and knowledge between public health and frontline providers.
  • University of Utah Health Care/Intermountain Healthcare/Duke Health System: A multi-institutional, collaborative effort to provide clinical decision support for timely diagnosis and management of newborn bilirubin according to evidence-based best practices. The collaboration intends to integrate the app across each member’s EHR platform.
  • WellSheet: WellSheet’s web application seeks to utilize machine learning and natural language processing to prioritize relevant information during a patient visit. Its algorithm simplifies workflows that must incorporate multiple data sources, including those enabled by FHIR, and presents information in a single screen.

Each of the Phase 1 winners received a $15,000 award. Both challenges now move to Phase 2, where the apps themselves will be evaluated. However, according to ONC, Phase 2 remains open to all potential applicants, including those that did not provide a Phase 1 entry, with submissions due Nov. 7, 2016. In each challenge, a grand prize, a second place prize and an “Ultimate Connector” prize will be awarded, for a total value of $100,000.

In related news, next week HL7 will be holding a FHIR apps roundtable in Boston at Harvard Medical School. The event is being promoted as a showcase for FHIR-based solutions to educate healthcare stakeholders on how APIs can help address the industry’s interoperability challenges.

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