EHR Issues Reporting Challenge Winners Announced by ONC

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has announced the winners of its Easy EHR Issues Reporting Challenge.

ONC is a federal entity that coordinates IT efforts across the United States in an attempt to promote the most advanced health information technology and creating a secure health information system.

As a part of this mission, earlier this year ONC ran a competition to improve the manner in which electronic health records (EHR) issues are reported. Currently, reporting EHR safety concerns is unnecessarily tricky, and causes unnecessary delays to workflows and overall reduces efficiency. The ONC hoped to implement a new and user-friendly mechanism is required to allow EHR users to quickly identify, document, and report issues to their IT teams.

Facile reporting of potential safety issues will allow the root causes of problems to be identified and corrected on a much faster timeframe. A new system that would allow feedback to be provided to EHR developers rapidly would ensure problems are resolved the most efficient possible manner, overall improving workplace efficacy.

The aim of the challenge was to encourage software developers to create solutions that would help clinicians report EHR usability and safety issues more quickly and efficiently in alignment with their usual clinical workflows.

The ONC’s challenge goals were outlined as:

  • The development of an application that facilitates the reporting of IT safety issues relating to EHR when it happens in an environment that minimises clinical burden
  • The facilitation of reporting in a way that will allow more data to be available to conduct IT safety root cause analyses, provide feedback to EHR developers, and determine best practices

The submissions were then assed through criteria such as EHR workflow integration, information flow, user experience, and technical functionality.

After assessing all submissions, ONC chose three winners:

1st Place and $45,000 was awarded to James Madison Advisory Group, which developed a unique solution for documenting and reporting potential EHR safety issues. The tool can be launched using a system tray icon or hotkey without exiting the EHR workflow. The solution works on Windows 8 systems and above and all EHR platforms. The software tool exports data in the HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Common Formats XML and PDF, can capture screenshots, and simplifies report delivery.

2nd Place and $25,000 was awarded to Pegwin which developed a software platform that clinicians can use to create and send safety and usability reports with three clicks of a mouse. The solution has an intuitive design, uses contextual menus, and automates Common Formats reporting as far as possible.

3rd Place and $10,000 was awarded to Jared Schwartz and his team for developing a Google Chrome plug-in that integrates with IT ticketing systems. The plug-in allows more consistent capturing of EHR safety issues.

Improving the safety of health IT remains an important priority,” said Andy Gettinger, M.D., ONC chief clinical officer. “We believe that making it easier for end users to report will help in that goal.”