Making an Impact on Interoperability through Implementation Experience

Tracy Okubo and Caroline Coy | May 9, 2016

As many Buzz Blog readers know, we have made significant progress in the flow of health information, but we still have work to do to ensure different systems speak the same language and data flows seamlessly and securely. To that end, today we announced two new funding opportunities at the 2016 Health Datapalooza, totaling $1.5 million, to advance common standards: the High Impact Pilots (HIP) and Standards Exploration Awards (SEA). These two cooperative agreement programs are part of the broader path we have laid out in the Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap and our new ONC Tech Lab approach for standards and technology, and they also work to advance the implementation of Health IT Standards Committee recommendations

The HIP and SEA programs each follow the same overall structure but differ in scope and award size.  Applicants for both programs must first select a “priority category” to focus on and then choose a specific minimum number of “impact dimensions” that their project will address.  HIP awardees need to choose a minimum of three out of seven impact dimensions, while SEA awardees will only need to choose a minimum of one impact dimension. Both funding opportunity announcements also expect awardees to use the best available standards, implementation guides, and emerging alternatives identified in the 2016 Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA) to foster the use of common, federally-recognized standards throughout the industry.

Awardees under these two programs will need to be ready to hit the ground running and produce results within one year.  Through this funding, award recipients in each program will need to generate evidence regarding whether their specific standards and technology are ready for widespread use and larger investments.

  • Priority Categories include: (1) Comprehensive Medication Management; (2) Laboratory Data Exchange; (3) Care Coordination; and (4) a Self-Identified category that allows the applicant to identify another area they believe the advancement of interoperable standards could be demonstrated.
  • The Impact Dimensions applicants can choose from are: (1) Practice Efficiency; (2) Clinical Quality; (3) Cost Efficiency; (4) Patient Experience; (5) Safety; (6) Privacy and Security; and (7) Interoperable Exchange.

We hope that these two new programs will serve as building blocks for future efforts and fuel innovative approaches to implementing standards and technology nationwide.

The total funding available for HIP awards is $1.25 million (no less than 3 awards and no more than 7 awards are expected).  The total funding available for SEA awards is $250,000 (no less than 3 awards and no more than 5 awards are expected).  Interested applicants are encouraged to attend the Information Session from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET on May 23 (HIP) and May 26 (SEA). The FOAs are open from now until July 8, 2016. Letters of intent are due by June 10th. Questions can be directed to ONC.techlab@hhs.gov.

For more information please visit: The High Impact Pilot Information Page and the Standard Exploration Awards Page on Healthit.gov

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