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ONC Announces LEAP in Health IT Awardees Centered on Health Equity

AllianceChicago is piloting a health IT project with community partners to use HL7 FHIR to better address SDOH for individuals experiencing homelessness.

ONC has announced two awards totaling $2 million under the Leading Edge Acceleration Projects in Health Information Technology (LEAP in Health IT) funding opportunity to advance health equity.

LEAP in Health IT awardees seek to create methods and tools that improve care delivery, advance research capabilities and promote interoperability.

“Our LEAP in Health IT awards are all about driving change and accelerating progress,” Steve Posnack, deputy national coordinator for health information technology, noted in a public statement. “I have no doubt that our 2022 awardees will continue this tradition and be laser focused on health equity enhancing solutions.”

The 2022 Notice of Funding Opportunity, released in June 2022, sought applications for one of two areas:

  1. Address health equity and social determinants of health (SDOH) through open-source technology tools and EHRs
  2. Demonstrate the use of equity-enhancing patient-generated health data (PGHD) for clinical care and research

The 2022 awardee for the first area of interest is AllianceChicago, a Health Center Controlled Network with decades of experience leading innovative health IT initiatives in the safety net setting.

AllianceChicago will partner with Heartland Alliance Health (a community health center), Chicago House (a community-based homeless service organization), EMI Advisors, and NORC at the University of Chicago to prototype a shared interoperable care plan.

The Aligning Housing and Healthcare project will use the HL7 FHIR data standard to help service providers to break down barriers to integration and coordination of services to better address SDOH for individuals experiencing homelessness.

The awardee for the second area of interest is MedStar Health Research Institute.

The Equity Engines project will develop the infrastructure and standards-based technologies needed to demonstrate the scalable use of PGHD for care delivery and research from the point of care to the researcher to enhance health equity.

Specifically, the project team will:

  1. Conduct an environmental scan to understand current standards and interoperability of PGHD related to the proposed PGHD technology solution
  2. Develop the Equity Engine (PGHD technology solution) that collects and shares PGHD among patients, providers, and researchers around clinical care and research that require PGHD and incorporate the needs of underserved communities
  3. Conduct two demonstration projects in at least two separate healthcare locations for at least two use cases, using the same technology to demonstrate scalability
  4. Evaluate the operational utility of the novel solution to report the potential impact, opportunities, and challenges

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