The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has launched a new challenge to “help bridge technological gaps” by bringing together healthcare organizations and innovative companies through $300,000 in pilot funding awards.

“Members of the healthcare innovation community have great products that can improve the U.S. healthcare system and make life better for patients and care providers. However, effecting actual change is extremely difficult due to the high barriers to entry in the health IT space. Once an innovative new product has been developed, it needs to be tested in real-life care settings,” according to ONC, which is calling on health innovators to pair with host sites such as hospitals, clinics, laboratories, or pharmacies to develop pilot proposals.

ONC’s Market R&D Pilot Challenge seeks to award proposals in three different host domains: clinical environments (hospitals, ambulatory care, surgical centers), public health and community environments (community-based personnel such as public health departments, community health workers), and consumer health (self-insured employers, pharmacies, laboratories). Host and innovator co-applicants must discuss and agree upon the pilot project design prior to submitting an application, which is due March 2, 2015.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to address the following ONC priority areas: standards/data formats; interoperability and exchange; care coordination/transitions of care; patient/PHR portals; medication management; Blue Button; patient-generated health data; and underserved communities. The challenge will have up to six winners, who will then implement and run their pilot projects over a 6-9 month period.

After completing the pilot, the winners—determined by an expert panel—will be required to issue a deliverable that “contributes to the public knowledge base, such as a white paper or open data set, or to open technology, such as an API or open source tool.”

ONC will award $25,000 when the teams are selected, and another $25,000 following completion of the pilot and evaluation. Teams will be selected by April 30, 2015.  

Information on the challenge can be found here.

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