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ONC Awards $2M for Health IT Interoperability Projects

Part of the ONC funding will go towards a health IT project to drive advance care planning interoperability using advanced FHIR standards.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has announced two awards totaling $2 million under the Leading Edge Acceleration Projects in Health Information Technology (LEAP in Health IT) funding opportunity.

LEAP in Health IT awardees seek to create solutions to improve healthcare delivery, advance clinical research capabilities, and address emerging healthcare interoperability challenges.

ONC released a Special Emphasis Notice in April 2023 that sought LEAP applications for two areas of interest:

  1. Exploring the use of advanced Health Level Seven (HL7) Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) capabilities
  2. Identifying data quality improvements for United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) data elements

"We are eager to see these new awardees get started and what they can do leveraging FHIR and USCDI," Steve Posnack, deputy national coordinator for health information technology, said in a press release.

The first LEAP awardee for 2023 is HEALTHeLINK, the Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO) for western New York. HEALTHeLINK's project seeks to leverage advanced FHIR capabilities to aggregate advance care planning documents from disparate sources for point-of-care accessibility.

Objectives of the project include:

  • Demonstrate advanced FHIR for the onboarding use case to aggregate advance directive (AD) metadata and PDFs from PCPs and hospitals via EHR vendors.
  • Demonstrate advanced FHIR real-time query by adding AD data sources, such as eMOLST (NY repository) and My Directives (national repository).
  • Demonstrate advanced FHIR real-time trigger and real-time query for emergency departments, pre-visit planning, and AD use cases.
  • Develop HIE AD data analytics and reporting for population health initiatives, research, and targeted community education to increase AD use and reduce disparities.

The second LEAP in Health IT awardee is Boston Children's Hospital, one of the largest, most comprehensive pediatric medical centers nationwide.

The hospital's project centers on creating an open-source platform that enables access to high-quality, standardized healthcare data, focusing on the USCDI in FHIR format.

Objectives of the project include:

  • Formulate and implement an iterative process to comprehend and assess the quality of structured and unstructured USCDI elements.
  • Materialize the process from objective one into an open-source infrastructure leveraging FHIR APIs in care delivery sites.
  • Implement the infrastructure at various sites, and once refined, share a snapshot of the data quality at those sites as a representative benchmark with root cause analysis of data anomalies.

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