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ONC healthcare contest to give patients more say over data movement

Most people can be reached instantly by others through mobile technology. A new healthcare contest devised by ONC may make it so that patients are able to approve the electronic transmission of their health data just as quickly.

The ONC Move Health Data Forward Challenge seeks to support the creation of an application programming interface (API) that would allow individuals to control who is authorized to view their data.

According to a blog post written by Steven Posnack, director of the Office of Standards and Technology at ONC and Caroline Coy, an ONC health IT program analyst, up to $250,000 in rewards will be given out to participants in the healthcare contest. The three stages and associated funding opportunities are as follow:

  •  In phase one, ten finalists will each receive $10,000 for their proposals.
  • As many as five finalists will move to stage two where they will each be eligible to receive $20,000 based on their prototypes.
  • There will be as many as two contest winners. Each will be given $50,000 based on an evaluation of how successfully they implemented their API.

The Move Health Data Forward challenge builds on ONC’s Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap which intends to give patients more say over where their data is sent.

It’s been more than a year since ONC released its 10-year interoperability plan. The agency hopes its roadmap pushes U.S. healthcare providers past the electronic data collection phase and encourages them to more freely share patient data. The ultimate goal of ONC’s interoperability project is to see the formation of a national learning health system in which hospitals can get data from providers and individual patients, with the consent of the patients.

Getting patients to agree to share their data is only one part of the process of improving interoperability among U.S. healthcare providers. In a recent interview with SearchHealthIT, Eric Helsher, vice president of client success at Epic Systems Corp., reasoned that the absence of technical and clinical terminology standards is stopping interoperability progress.