Imagine going into your doctor’s office and he has to pull out a big folder with all the paperwork from your past visits. Now if you move to another state, how the hell can he fax or send the paperwork to the new place? Technology!
The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 provided $32 billion in investments and incentives to support the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology mostly through the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) especially electronic medical records and exchanging health information among organizations for patients.
My role was to initiate and lead efforts to evaluate the effectiveness of the Strategic Health Advanced Research Program (SHARP). The SHARP program made grants to four universities and health care organizations each receiving $15 million to conduct in one of the following areas: 1) Security & Privacy of Health Information, 2) Boost Patient-Cenrered Decision-Making, 3) Create new and improve systems for exchanging health information, and 4) Using health information to improve the overall healthcare system. To accelerate health IT adoption, the universities and health care organizations had to work with technology developers, vendors, and health care providers to apply their findings to the practice of medicine.
I wrote the statement of work and led the contract bidding process. We eventually selected the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago to evaluate the SHARP program. I worked with the contractor to define how we would send surveys, the type of questions and data to gather, and how to analyze them to determine the program’s impact. I directed NORC to look at how emerging research efforts could be commercialized and use in the “real world. Their report is here. The SHARP program overall has contributed to research, policy, and industry, both directly and indirectly. Across the entire program, SHARP created over 300 peer-reviewed publications, research reports, and white papers. SHARP awardees produced nearly 500 artifacts, presenting new knowledge or introducing tools and resources for product development, testing, and new research. These artifacts include over 60 examples of open-source software applications or knowledge resources produced by SHARP that represent potential value to developers and researchers.