State Health Information Exchange Grantees Take Part in the Consumer Innovation Challenge

Peter Banks and Kory Mertz | April 11, 2012

ONC recently issued the Consumer Innovation Challenge to State Health Information Exchange  grantees, building on the momentum of the ONC Pledge Program, to increase consumers’ access to their health information. Participating states will make concrete progress in the next six months to get electronic information into consumers’ hands so they can share it with family members and multiple providers who care for them and use it to improve their health and health care.

Consumer Innovation Challenge Launch

To launch the program, on Tuesday, March 20, ONC convened an all-day Consumer Innovation Challenge meeting in Chicago. Participants in the meeting collaborated with a wide range of experts, including health information exchange implementers, personal health record (PHR) vendors, and patient advocates.

The meeting addressed topics such as:

  • Technical architecture,
  • Privacy and security,
  • Patient outreach, and
  • Ways  to increase the use of patient-oriented solutions such as Blue Button and Direct.

The conversations and the relationships established during the meeting created a foundation for action. State leaders will provide real-world implementation examples to spur innovation and to help show the path forward for others looking to engage consumers and to improve their access to data.

State Health Information Exchange Participants

Health information exchange grantees in six states stepped up to take the challenge, each offering a compelling plan for progress in the next six months:

  1. Indiana: The Indiana State Health information Exchange is partnering with the Children and Hoosier’s Immunization Registry Program Exit Disclaimer to give families access to immunization records, decreasing the burden on families to fill out camp and school forms, and decreasing immunization gaps.
  2. Nebraska: The Nebraska Health Information Initiative (NeHII) and SimplyWell are leveraging the VA’s Blue Button technology (“The Big Red Button”) to allow patients to obtain their health information electronically from NeHII and download it to a personal health record (PHR), enabling a myriad of innovative uses and applications for consumers.
  3. Montana: HealthShare Montana is partnering with PHR vendor Dossia to make personal health care data more readily available to patients to improve consumer engagement and self-management.
  4. Illinois: In order to reduce cancer disparities in urban Chicago and reduce the risk and cost of repeat images, this project will provide patients with easy access to mammography images via PHRs and also give clinicians tools to search and retrieve mammography images from any Web browser-based device.
  5. Maryland: Maryland providers will be able to use Direct to send patients’ health information to a PHR account and will explore, with granular patient control over the data, the ability of providers to query the information in the patient HealthVault account.
  6. Georgia: ChathamHealthLink, a local health information exchange that serves the uninsured and indigent population of southeast Georgia, plans to partner with the Georgia State Health Information Exchange Direct project to provide lab results to patients through the use of a PHR.

ONC’s Strategy to Empower Individuals to be Partners in their Health

One of ONC’s overarching goals is to empower individuals to be partners in their health through health information technology. Three main strategies help achieve this goal:

  • Access: Give consumers easier access to their health information.
  • Action: Support the development of tools and services that empower consumers to take action using their health information.
  • Attitude: Support the evolution in expectations regarding consumers’ roles in being partners with providers in their health and health care.

The State Health Information Exchange Program is excited about closely collaborating with our six state Consumer Innovation Challenge participants to achieve the goals encompassed in ONC’s “Action, Access, and Attitude” approach. Our grantees have accepted the challenge of providing patients access to their data, and we look forward celebrating their implementation successes this fall.

For more information on health information exchange or health information technology, visit