ONC announces new challenge program

The adoption of electronic health records and other telehealth technologies has grown significantly over the past couple of years. However, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has noted that there are still a great deal of startups that have found it challenging to get pilot partners to assist them in creating new health IT systems.

ONC promotes the creation of health IT through new program
While EHR systems have successfully improved aspects like interoperability for practices, other health technologies are in need of updates. Pilot partners are key to acquiring the data necessary for showing that a product is effective for customers and potential investors. Enhancing these relationships will lend a helping hand to innovators who are working to bring new health IT products to the market.

The ONC has announced a new challenge initiative called the Market Research and Development Pilot Challenge. Participants will work at clinics, pharmacies, laboratories and hospitals as they create pilot proposals.

"We heard loudly and clearly that it was time to focus on interoperability as a priority and we articulated why the time is now to achieve the vision. First, as a nation, we have made significant progress in digitizing the care experience such that there is now data to be shared. Second, consumers increasingly expect and demand real-time access to their electronic health information," Karen DeSalvo said in a statement. "Informed by your input and feedback we acted on this opportunity."

Funding aimed at advancing the health care sector
According to HealthIT.gov, the ONC will provide funding for the best six teams who will split $300,000 over the course of a year-long commitment to developing never-before seen health IT products that transform the industry.

After outlining a plan and developing a proposal, the teams will then do everything from gathering data to starting the pilot and tracking the results. The participants have six months to prove their innovations will be successful, as they are required to send in an evaluation report of their results to the ONC.

After the pilot teams are chosen and organized, the ONC will provide $25,000 to each group and then an additional $25,000 when the creation and assessment of their pilots are finished. 

With the obvious success of EHR systems throughout the health care sector, the ONC is hoping that the new program will result in the creation of similar health technologies to play a role in the overall advancement of the industry.