ONC Launches Reporting Patient Safety Events Challenge to Help Reduce Medical Errors

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is proud to launch the Reporting Patient Safety Events Challenge, designed to spur development of platform-agnostic health IT tools to facilitate the reporting of medical errors in hospital and outpatient settings. This developer contest is part of ONC’s Investing in Innovation (i2) Initiative, which holds competitions to accelerate development and adoption of technology solutions that enhance quality and outcomes.

Patient Safety Developer Contest to Reduce Medical Errors

Why launch this challenge? Hospitals struggle to increase internal incident reporting and to create effective systems for their quality and risk management staff to complete root cause analyses and follow-up. Additionally, quality and risk management staff cope with reporting fatigue in a paper-based reporting system, affecting reporting frequency and quality. Oftentimes, their limited energy is spent convincing physicians and nurses to report incidents, doing enough of an investigation to fill out the appropriate forms, and sending them to the appropriate agencies—all of which lead to better research and improvement efforts.

Ideally, we would live in a world of optimal care delivery. Physicians, nurses, and care delivery organizations across the country are continuously working to minimize and eliminate errors. But, until this ideal world exists, we need to invest in infrastructure that helps enable better care quality, risk management, and shared learning—all to ensure better care for patients.

Participating in the Patient Safety Developer Contest

We’re looking for passionate innovators to participate in this exciting new developer contest to help the health care delivery community solve these issues. These reporting issues would be partially alleviated through the deployment of an effective software reporting solution. The solution needs to make it easier for any qualified individual to file a report electronically, using Common Formats, but allowing for additional elements and narratives. It must allow the hospital quality and risk management staff to add information from follow-up investigations; submit reports as appropriate to patient safety organizations, the states, or the Food and Drug Administration; and track follow-up activities.

Submit Entries for Patient Safety Developer Contest by August 31, 2012

Applicants are required to submit their entries by August 31, 2012, and will be judged on the effectiveness of their system in facilitating patient safety event reporting including:

  • Compliance with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s common formats;
  • Usability and design;
  • Ability to integrate with EHRs and other health IT data sources; and
  • Application of the Nationwide Health Information Network standards.

The first place winner will receive $50,000. The second place prize will be $15,000 and third prize will be $5,000.

For More Information

Please visit the Reporting Patient Safety Events Challenge website to learn more about the developer contest. In the coming weeks, we will launch a webinar to provide further details for participation. Enter now!

We Want to Hear From You

Have thoughts on this blog post? Do you plan to enter this developer contest? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. We look forward to hearing from you!

For more information on health information technology, visit HealthIT.gov.


  1. Ravi N. says:

    I continue to be astounding by the diversity of efforts that ONC has undertaken to support innovation towards worthwhile health care topic. Since ‘To Err is Human’, patient safety issues have continually been highlighted as an area the U.S. needs to improve upon. I applaud this effort to engage the public for their solutions and hope that the government continues to shine a bright spotlight on the need for further research and innovation in addressing patient safety.

  2. tyler says:

    This is a great thing. Patient safety is so important, and implementing a contest like this to get further input and knowledge is to be commended.

  3. Wade says:

    Medical errors is a scary thing to comprehend! I know that we have put all of our trust in our doctors, however, is it too trusting? They are only human, and as the old saying goes, “Too err is human!” Its a scary thought that medical mistakes happen, but they do, and probably more than we realize!

  4. Shahid N. Shah says:

    Hi Wil. This seems like a terrific initiative — you mentioned in the article that “the solution needs to make it easier for any qualified individual to file a report electronically”. I was curious, though, who is “qualified” and how would that be decided?

  5. Anti-Aging says:

    There’s no panacea for eliminating mistakes, but a starting point is clearly communication. Better doctor-patient exchanges improve medicine, and when patients and their families are kept in the loop. A previous study of errors at the hospital revealed that misplacing orders for medication or procedures into the wrong patient’s electronic chart was the second most prevalent reason that patients erroneously received another patient’s treatments.

Leave a ReplyComment Policy