The current health IT landscape is fraught with challenges, including a lack of system interoperability that limits innovation. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is hoping to stimulate health IT innovation in the United States through its new program, the Investing in Innovations (i2) Initiative.
To roll out the program, the ONC has awarded nearly $5 million to the Capital Consulting Corporation (CCC) and Health 2.0 LLC to fund projects supporting health IT innovation. The program will focus on the use of prizes and challenges to encourage stakeholders across the health care sector to address such topics as sharing health information within a social network, connecting individuals during an emergency and customizing privacy allowances for personal health records. The i2 Initiative will also help analyze the current health IT environment in an effort to track and model clusters of innovation.
The i2 Initiative “opens the door to new opportunities for open collaboration from a wide range of diverse individuals and organizations that will increase the national rate of innovation and adoption of health IT as we improve health care of all Americans,” said Dr. Farzad Mostashari, national coordinator for health information technology.
The use of prizes and challenges to drive health IT innovation is not a new idea. The CONNECT Code-A-Thon is a hands-on coding event that brings together experts to share ideas and best practices. Another competition, the DC to VC: HIT Startup Showcase, is looking for the best startup ideas in health information technology. The DC to VC competition is open to any U.S. entrepreneurs that are “applying cutting-edge technology to improve the quality and delivery of healthcare.”