By Kelly A. Briganti, JD, Editorial Director, G2 Intelligence
To help spur further development of safe and secure methods for sharing health information, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) announced three funding programs totaling $36 million. The funding arrives shortly following the release of the ONC’s draft plan for achieving interoperability, Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap Version 1.0. ONC’s Roadmap discusses the steps necessary to ensure health care information is available and accessible to all involved in health care delivery and promotes involvement of all stakeholders across health care including government, public health services, individual providers, hospitals, laboratories, researchers and community organizations. (For more information about the Roadmap, see the next issue of National Intelligence Report).
Three different programs provide the funding:
- Health Information Exchange: $28 million will be invested through 10 to 12 separate cooperative agreements with states, territories or state designated entities to build on the successes of earlier Health Information Exchange Programs to work toward secure sharing of health information and increased meaningful use of that information across the spectrum of organizations involved in health care delivery. The ONC announcement of this funding source highlighted the benefits of interoperability, noting as examples the ability for long term care providers in Colorado to access lab test results for patients after hospital discharge and Maryland’s linked Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. A webinar explaining the program is offered Feb. 24, 2015, 3-4 p.m. EST. Awards are expected to be made in June, 2015.
- Workforce Training: $6.4 million will be granted to between 5 and 7 recipients. The funds will support training health IT workers, including training on use of new technology. New training materials address population health, care coordination, new care delivery/payment methods, and value-based care. An informational webinar will be provided Feb. 23, 2015, at 3-4 p.m. EST. Awards are expected in May with work to start in June, 2015.
- Community Health Peer Learning: A $1.7 million single award will be made to one recipient for management of the Community Health Peer Learning Program. The recipient will work with up to 10 communities to engage in collaborative learning to identify and find ways to overcome “population health challenges” and allow providers to use health IT to improve health care. An informational webinar is scheduled for Feb. 26, 2015, 3-4 p.m. EST. The award is expected to be made in May and work to begin in June, 2015.
Deadlines for the all three funding opportunities are as follows: Letters of Intent are due March 2, 2015; and applications are due April 6, 2015. Registration and more information can be found at healthit.gov.