Developers who can successfully enable secure sharing of health records stand to win up to $50,000 from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
The competitive field is down to five, since the ONC last week announced the Phase 2 winners of its Move Health Data Forward Challenge.
The ONC launched the competition to get companies working on “consumer-mediated exchange” of health information. Already, the ONC's Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap's 2015 to 2017 goals include enabling consumers to send, receive and otherwise use their health data.
As the healthcare industry continues to tout interoperability, this challenge puts that goal into practice—and financially incentivizes it—as participants seek to give consumers the ability to authorize the secure transfer of their health information through application programming interfaces.
True interoperability could cut healthcare costs both by reducing administrative burden and by streamlining care; repeat tests, for example, could be prevented by having previous test data already on hand. Interoperability also stands to improve the quality of care, as patients and doctors get more direct access to health information.
Ultimately, the goal of the ONC is to create, by 2024, a “learning health system” that allows for “continuous learning and improved health,” according to the roadmap.
The winners of the contest's second phase are CedarBridge Group, EMR Direct, Foxhall Wythe, Lush Group and Live and Leave Well. Per the challenge's constraints, their solutions all involve the secure exchange of healthcare information:
CedarBridge Group makes CareApprove, an app that lets patients give and take away their providers' access and ability to send and receive their health data. A plug-in allows providers to connect the app to electronic health records.
HealthToGo, created by software company EMR Direct, can be used to store healthcare data from multiple providers, thereby creating a longitudinal patient record. Like CareApprove, the app allows patients to grant or revoke access to the data.
Foxhall Wythe's Docket relies on end-to-end encryption for security and fast healthcare interoperability resources, or FHIR, a set of standards for interoperability, so patients can share information from multiple healthcare providers.
Live and Leave Well focuses on end-of-life care, allowing patients and doctors to create end-of-life plans, including Do Not Resuscitate orders.
Lush Group's HealthyMePHR pulls data from patients' primary care EHRs. Through the FHIR-based platform, patients can choose how their information is shared by granting specific access.
These five winners each receive $20,000 in addition to the $5000 they each received for making it through Phase 1, in which they had to submit plans for their solutions. In Phase 3, they'll have to put their solutions into use. Up to two winners will receive $50,000.