The ONC established a digital “proving ground” that could incite sharing and greater advances.
What does it take to grab the attention of the government’s health information technology (IT) engine?
Ask Pharm2Pharm, the first project spotlighted by the Office of the National Health IT Coordinator’s (ONC) Interoperability Proving Ground, a platform that connects researchers working to solve challenging data-sharing problems. ONC officials described the inaugural showcase, the proving ground’s potential, and how researchers and innovators can use it to further their work during the agency’s annual meeting last week in Washington, DC.
Pharm2Pharm, they noted, aims to strengthen care transition and coordination through a model built around hospital and community pharmacists, managing medication in high-risk patients. To get the Hawaii-based project off the ground, stakeholders had to build medication reconciliation and drug therapy problem assessment modules.
The health IT endeavor—completed by the Hawaii Health Information Exchange and the software solutions firm HCS—seemed to have paid off. Researchers recently found a “significant decrease” in the drug-associated hospitalization rate of senior citizens and a better return on investment for pharmacists. The publication of those conclusions is what made Pharm2Pharm eligible to be prominently featured by the ONC.
Under the new spotlight program, each week the agency highlights a new project, or one with fresh findings, that was uploaded to the Interoperability Proving Ground. A computer makes the selection using predetermined criteria, and then the ONC promotes the winner online, through tweets and a listserv blast to 100,000 people.
“Hopefully the list continues to grow so we see new spotlights on a regular basis,” Tracy Okubo, PMP, a public health analyst with the ONC, said.
The proving ground is a community platform where researchers and ONC officials upload research projects regarding interoperability. Each effort can be tagged according to geographic location, specific subject matter, and more, enabling likeminded researchers to connect and build upon each other’s work.
It’s all in support of the “ultimate mission, Okubo said: the seamless exchange of health information.
She pointed to 2 other proving ground projects, whose investigators were in attendance. One focused on patient-centered data in the heartland region, a push to ensure that people who live in certain states, like Michigan, Kentucky, and eastern Tennessee, can go to hospitals and providers across state lines with their electronic medical records in tow. Another, based in Arizona and Colorado, aspires to provide real-time prescription medication information, including price transparency, deductible status, and therapeutic alternatives.
The ONC encouraged innovators to reach out if they are interested in participating in the initiative. For more information, click here.