HHS kicks off $5M 'i2' Health IT app development program

The Health and Human Services Department's National Coordinator for the Health IT announced an initiative to develop new applications and solutions in health IT.

The Health and Human Services Department is looking for developers to create more innovative health IT solutions and applications for its new $5 million Investment in Innovations initiative, the department announced July 8.

Dr. Farzad Mostashari, HHS National Coordinator for Health IT, is spearheading the i2 program, which officials said is the department’s first project to be conducted under the America Competes Reauthorization Act of 2010. Congress passed the law to promote more support for science, math, technology, and engineering research and education.

Mostashari’s office has awarded nearly $5 million to the Capital Consulting Corp., of Rockville, Md., and to Health 2.0 LLC, of San Francisco, to fund application development projects supporting specific health IT goals.

The goal of i2 is “supporting innovations in research and encouraging health IT development through open-innovation mechanisms like prizes and challenges,” the agency said in a news release.

The agency intends to involve hospitals, doctors, consumers, payers, states, employers, advocates and relevant federal agencies to obtain direct input on execution of the initiative and build partnerships, it added.

Applications and solutions that are to be developed under the i2 program include those that:

  • Allow an individual to securely and effectively share health information with members of his or her social network.
  • Provide patients, caregivers and/or clinicians access to rigorous and relevant information that can support real needs and immediate decisions.
  • Allow individuals to connect during natural disasters and other periods of emergency.
  • Facilitate exchange of health information while allowing individuals to customize the privacy allowances for their personal health records.

Additional efforts that are part of i2 include analysis by Capital Consulting, Health 2.0 LLC and others that helps to identify clusters of innovation and links between innovator communities, with the goal of informing future policy-making.