ONC kicks off $80,000 EHR safety contest

Doctors using digital tablet together in hospital

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT announced a new developer contest focusing on EHR safety. 

ONC has a history of looking to private sector app developers for innovations that bolster the use of health data, such as Blue Button mashups, reducing medical errors, apps for children’s health, data aggregators, secure APIs, just to name a few examples.

Backed by $80,000 in prizes and dubbed the new Easy EHR Issue Reporting Challenge, ONC said the program aims to help clinicians report EHR safety issues when they happen and right in the workflow.

That’s a big contrast to the way safety reporting happens right now.

“The vast majority of EHRs currently require the end user to either log out of the EHR system entirely or leave the current workflow process to report a problem,” ONC Chief Medical Officer Andrew Gettinger, MD, wrote on the HealthIT Buzz blog Tuesday. “These workflow disruptions place a large enough burden on many users that they just avoid reporting altogether.”  

ONC is looking for innovators to develop an EHR-agnostic application that integrates into clinician workflow to enable them to more easily create reports and choose who they want to share those with.

Gettinger explained that all submissions must involve user testing by physicians, clinicians and include that feedback in the application process.

“Stakeholder feedback – and our own experiences – show that there is a need for more efficient and user-friendly mechanisms that allow EHR end users to report concerns quickly and easily, with little or no disruption to their workflow,” Gettinger added.

The deadline is Oct. 15.

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