N.Y. HIE HealtheLink, Boston Children’s Hospital Win ONC LEAP Awards

Aug. 14, 2023
Award winners to explore advanced use of FHIR capabilities and identify data quality improvements for USCDI data elements

HealtheLink, a New York state health information exchange, and Boston Children’s Hospital have won “LEAP in Health IT” awards from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

The two awards total $2 million under the Leading Edge Acceleration Projects in Health Information Technology program, which seeks to create methods and tools to improve care delivery, advance research capabilities, and address emerging challenges related to interoperable health IT.

The 2023 Special Emphasis Notice, released in April 2023, sought applications for two areas of interest: (1) exploring the use of advanced Health Level Seven (HL7) Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) capabilities; (2) identifying data quality improvements for United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) data elements.

“We are eager to see these new awardees get started and what they can do leveraging FHIR and USCDI,” said Steve Posnack, deputy national coordinator for health information technology, in a statement.

The 2023 LEAP awardees are:

Area 1: Exploring the Use of Advanced Fast Health Care Interoperability Resources (FHIR) Capabilities: HealtheLink, the regional health information organization (RHIO) for western New York, seeks to demonstrate advanced FHIR capabilities to solve the complex problem of having advance care planning documents aggregated from disparate sources so they are accessible electronically at the point care. The nonprofit organization will demonstrate benefits from the use of the advanced FHIR features, software development using open-source code, implementation, testing, and piloting under real-world conditions. ONC said these efforts would accelerate the adoption of advanced FHIR by illustrating the value of the health information exchange for solving complex problems in health care interoperability.

Objectives:

  1. Demonstrate advanced FHIR for the onboarding use case to aggregate advance directive (AD) metadata and PDFs from primary care practices and hospitals via electronic health record (EHR) vendors.
  2. Demonstrate advanced FHIR for the HIE/interoperability use case.
  3. Demonstrate advanced FHIR real time query by adding AD data sources, such as eMOLST (NY repository) and My Directives (national repository).
  4. Demonstrate advanced SMART on FHIR app and FHIR application programming interface (API) endpoint use case with primary care providers, hospitals, hospices, and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel.
  5. Demonstrate advanced FHIR real-time trigger and real time query for emergency departments, pre-visit planning, and AD use cases.
  6. Develop HIE AD data analytics and reporting for population health activities, research, and targeted community education to increase AD use and reduce disparities.

Area 2: Identifying Data Quality Improvements for USCDI Data Elements: Boston Children's Hospital,one of the largest, most comprehensive medical centers for pediatric health in the U.S., is developing CumulusQ: an open-source platform for improving FHIR data quality across the ecosystem.

The CumulusQ project seeks to cultivate an interoperable health IT ecosystem that enables easy access to high-quality, standardized healthcare data, with a particular focus on the USCDI in FHIR format.

Objectives:

  1. Formulate and implement an iterative process to comprehend and assess the quality of both structured and unstructured USCDI elements.
  2. Materialize the iterative process from Objective 1 into an easily deployable, open-source infrastructure leveraging FHIR APIs in care delivery sites.
  3. Implement the tooling from Objective 2 at multiple sites in the CumulusQ network, and once refined, disseminate a snapshot of the data quality at those sites as a representative benchmark, with root cause analysis of data anomalies.