Research grants for Health IT worth $ 60 M awarded by ONC

WASHINGTON – The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has awarded $60 million in research grants through the Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP) program to the Mayo Clinic of Medicine, Harvard University, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

ONC chief David Blumenthal, MD, announced the awards recently in an e-mail.

The full text follows:

Research and Innovation that Translates into Practice – A Message from Dr. David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

Our quest to improve the health of Americans and the performance of our health care system depends critically on the use of electronic health records (EHRs) and the electronic exchange of health information.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has created a solid foundation of programs and initiatives to support health care practitioners and hospitals in implementing meaningful use of certified EHR technology, but we are admittedly at the beginning of our journey.

ONC is keenly aware that technology needs to continuously advance, bringing new solutions that will make it even more beneficial. While I’m proud of what ONC has achieved so far, I’m humbled by the size of the task still in front of us. The HITECH Act – in its very design – clearly recognized a need for progressive and innovative thinking to overcome barriers and ensure the long-term viability of our health care system.

To this end, today ONC launched a major initiative aimed at promoting research and innovation. Four renowned institutions – Mayo Clinic of Medicine, Harvard University, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – were awarded research grants totaling $60 million through the Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP) program.

Each institution’s research projects will identify short-term and long-term solutions to address key challenges, including ensuring the security of health IT (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), enabling patient-centered cognitive support for clinicians (The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston), making progress toward new health care application and network-platform architectures (Harvard University), and promoting the secondary use of EHR data while maintaining privacy and security (Mayo Clinic of Medicine).

These projects will be conducted by multidisciplinary teams led by recognized public and private sector leaders in health, including  researchers, the technology industry, and health care providers. The results of these diverse teams’ work will be translated into practice to produce innovative health IT solutions that can be deployed nationwide.  This is not ivory tower research; its goal is to quickly infuse the dynamic health IT sector with new thinking, ideas, and solutions.

The SHARP grants announced today represent an important investment in the long-term future of health care for our nation. I am excited by the promise of these projects to fundamentally change the trajectory of health IT in support of better health and care.

Sincerely,

David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P.
National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

source: www.healthcareitnews.com