Federally funded researchers at Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School have released a healthcare interoperability platform and interface "to support a flexible health information technology environment and promote innovation," according to a news release.
Boston researchers develop app platform
Development work on the platform was funded through a $15 million grant from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology for its Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects, known as the SHARP initiative.
Announced last year, the SHARP program provided a total of $60 million in grants to fund research in four areas—security and health IT at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; patient-centered cognitive support at the University of Texas at Houston; secondary use of EHR data at the Mayo Clinic; and healthcare application and network design, the research area of the latest effort by Children's Hospital and Harvard.
The proposed network platform, called SMART (for substitutable medical applications, reusable technologies), and its related interface were made available to developers to kick off the start of a $5,000 prize competition "challenging developers to create Web applications that provide specific functionality for patients, physicians, or for public health." U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra announced there would be such a competition in a speech last November.
The basic elements of the SMART framework are likened to the development structure of the iPhone—a core set of functions with an open interface that allows for rapid development of interchangeable applications. According to the developers, the intellectual roots of SMART in healthcare can be traced to a 2009 New England Journal of Medicine article by physician informaticists Drs. Kenneth Mandl and Isaac Kohane, developers of Indivo, an open-source, personally controlled health-record system. Mandel and Kohane are on the SMART project's leadership team.
The SMART platform also incorporates a number of the recommendations contained in a December report on health IT from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Developers wanting to compete for the $5,000 challenge prize can visit the website for the details. Winners will be announced in June.
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