Sunday, December 20, 2009

Funds for HIT Innovation

In an update from David Blumenthal, MD, National Coordinator for HIT, the Obama Administration has made $60 million available to support “Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects” (SHARP). The program will fund research to find the technology solutions needed to deal with the problems impeding the broad adoption of HIT.

The SHARP program will address barriers to adoption in four specific areas:

• Security of HIT Research will address the challenges involved in developing security and risk mitigation policies and the technologies needed to build and preserve the public trust

• Patient-Centered Cognitive Support Research will address the need to harness the power of health IT in a patient-focused manner and align the technology with the day-to-day practice of medicine

• Healthcare Application and Network Platform Architectures Research will focus on the development of new and improved architectures necessary to achieve electronic exchange and the use of health information in a secure, private, and accurate manner

• Secondary Use of Electronic Health record Data Research will identify strategies to enhance the use of health IT to improve the overall quality of health care, population health, and clinical research while protecting patient privacy

“The SHARP program will bring together some of the best and brightest minds in the nation to find breakthrough solutions and innovations that will eliminate barriers to adoption and over time, increase the meaningful use of health IT,” said Dr. Blumenthal.

Another important aspect of the SHARP program is that the research projects will being together key stakeholders, researchers, patient groups, healthcare providers, and others to work with one another to transform health IT research into applications.

According to Dr. Blumenthal, “This collaborative approach will allow us to consider the many voices of health IT stakeholders and work together towards common goals. With our eyes on the vision of patient-centered quality healthcare, we can focus research on innovative, pragmatic, and realistic solutions which can then be implemented across the nation”.

Public or private institutions of higher education and research organizations are eligible to apply for funding. HHS expects to award qualified SHARP applicants cooperative agreements with each agreement lasting four years. Applications are due on January 25th 2010 with awards anticipated in March 2010.

Go to for information on the SHARP program and the cooperative agreement applications. Information on the program is also available at For additional questions, email