AHRQ Challenge on Designing the Optimal Future State of CDS Connect
Designing the Future of CDS Connect
About the Challenge
Healthcare is undergoing a rapid digital expansion that will lead to innovations in using technology and data to impact care. To support this digital expansion into healthcare, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has funded a portfolio of projects and research to create actionable findings and support the implementation of those findings as part of cutting-edge clinical practice. In 2016, AHRQ launched the Clinical Decision Support (CDS) Connect Project, aimed at putting patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) findings into practice through CDS. CDS Connect is a freely available, web-based platform focused on integrating standards-based CDS and evidence-based care more rapidly into clinical practice through electronic health systems and applications.
Since its inception, CDS Connect has steadily grown in functionality and utilization, gaining an active following of diverse stakeholders and users. Today, CDS Connect offers multiple tools and resources to support the dissemination and implementation of PCOR findings into practice and make CDS more shareable, standards-based, and publicly available.
The rapid evolution and growing role of digital technologies in healthcare has increased the importance of CDS Connect as a freely available source of up-to-date tools and resources. To ensure that CDS Connect is sustainable and will continue to evolve to meet the needs of its stakeholders, AHRQ is exploring collaborative initiatives with private industry and non-profit entities as a potential path forward. AHRQ is announcing a competition to solicit innovative input on the future functionalities and roles of CDS Connect through a collaborative initiative with the Agency. AHRQ will use this information to help the Agency identify collaborative models that have the potential to sustain and further develop CDS Connect as a public resource.
The purpose of this Challenge Competition is to solicit ideas on the future state of CDS Connect. Specifically, the competition seeks input on:
- Improving the functionality, value, and accessibility of CDS Connect.
- Understanding the potential role CDS Connect can have in quality improvement, based on emerging marketplaces of shareable, interoperable clinical decision support.
- How CDS Connect can best continue to disseminate and promote standards-based CDS.
- Methods by which industry, government, and nonprofit entities can collaborate to achieve this goal.
This Challenge consists of two phases.
Phase 1: Design Proposal
The objective of Phase 1 is for participants to describe, through a 25-page white paper, a design for a future state of CDS Connect supported by a collaboration between AHRQ and private industry. (The maximum page length is 25 pages. There is no minimum page length. Submissions may be less than 25 pages, inclusive of any tables and figures.) Submissions, at a minimum, must demonstrate how their design addresses the four key areas below. The questions and prompts below each key area are intended to guide participants' responses and are not expected to be directly addressed.
- Future Functionalities/Capabilities:
- What technical functionalities and tools should a future version of CDS Connect have to facilitate widespread incorporation of interoperable CDS into practice?
- How can a future version of CDS Connect create an expansive CDS Repository by increasing the number of available knowledge artifacts and resources?
- How can a future version of CDS Connect further promote the use of interoperable standards?
- What technical functionalities are needed to address the needs of the provider and patient communities, and how does your concept of CDS Connect meet those needs?
- Value Proposition:
- What can be done to improve the value of CDS Connect to clinicians, patients, and CDS developers?
- How will your design, if enacted, make CDS Connect better than similar products or initiative currently on the market?
- Roles and Authority:
- What future role/authority should a future version of CDS Connect occupy in the CDS ecosystem?
- What services should a future version of CDS Connect offer?
- How can CDS Connect position itself to evolve to meet the changing needs of the patient and clinician communities?
- How can a future version of CDS Connect support and grow CDS innovation?
- Business Model:
- Describe the optimal collaborative arrangement to sustain and evolve CDS Connect. Include any financial arrangements or business models and define the capabilities of partners who may participate in the collaboration.
- Describe how your design would support (e.g., though front- or back-end functionality, user experience, or other ways) the optimal collaborative arrangement.
For example, submissions can include mockups or graphics with explanatory text (e.g., callout boxes and other text features) that help to describe how their design addresses each key area.
Submissions are due December 6, 2023.
AHRQ will complete the review of the proposals within approximately 6 weeks of the submission due date. AHRQ will announce up to 10 winners of Phase 1.
Phase 2: Presentation
The winners of Phase 1 will be invited to participate in Phase 2. The objective of Phase 2 is for participants, through a live virtual presentation, to explain the strengths of their Phase 1 white paper submission. In addition to discussing their design, participants will also be asked to address three additional questions during the presentation:
- What are the biggest challenges facing adoption and incorporation of CDS, and how does your future concept of CDS Connect address those challenges?
- How does your future concept of CDS Connect help to realize the promise of CDS to improve the use of evidence-based practices, improve patient and provider experience, and reduce diagnostic errors and costs?
- How does your future concept of CDS Connect help to increase patient and provide trust in CDS?
Presentations must be slide-based and may include other multimedia formats, such as images, graphs, tables, and videos. Participants will be given up to 40 minutes in length to present and discuss their Phase 1 design and up to 20 minutes to provide their answers to the additional three questions. Presentations will be recorded for AHRQ use and review only. Participants will be required to submit their presentation slide set to AHRQ at least 2 business days before their presentation.
Phase 2 presentations will occur during mid- to late-January 2024. Specific dates will be provided to selected Phase 1 winners.
AHRQ will announce the overall winners of the Challenge Competition within approximately 6 weeks of the last presentation given.
Timeline and Prize Amounts
- September 19, 2023—Challenge launch.
- December 6, 2023—Submission deadline for Phase 1.
- January 2024—AHRQ will announce the winners of Phase 1. AHRQ will host a technical assistance webinar for winners of Phase 1 to discuss the parameters of Phase 2 and to answer any questions. The technical assistance webinar for Phase 2 will take place in January 2024. Information to register for the technical assistance webinar will be provided to Phase 1 winners after winners are announced.
- February 2024—Phase 2 presentations will occur.
- March 2024—AHRQ will announce the overall winners of the Challenge Competition.
Total Cash Prizes: $100,000
Only the participants selected as winners of Phase 1 will be eligible to enter Phase 2. Phase 1 winners will not be awarded cash prizes. AHRQ will select one winner per category below, based on the combined scores and assessments of both Phase 1 and 2.
- Best Overall Design.
- Best Technical Functionalities.
- Best Value Proposition.
- Most Innovative Design.
AHRQ will award a cash prize of $25,000 to the winner in each category. There will be only one winner per category. Participants cannot be awarded a cash prize in more than one category (no multiple category winners).
Eligibility Rules for Participating in the Challenge
To be eligible under this Challenge, an individual (whether participating singly or in a group) or entity:
- Must have registered (Challenge.gov) to participate in the Challenge.
- Must have complied with the rules set forth in this announcement for participation in this Challenge.
- Must be incorporated and maintain a primary place of business in the United States (in the case of a private entity), and in the case of an individual, whether participating singly or in a group, shall be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
- May not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment. (All Federal employees should consult with their agency Ethics Official to determine whether the Federal ethics rules will limit or prohibit the acceptance of a prize).
- May not be an employee of AHRQ or any other company, organization, or individual involved with the design, production, execution, judging, or distribution of the Challenge, or their immediate family (spouse, parents and stepparents, siblings and stepsiblings, and children and stepchildren), or household members (people who share the same residence at least 3 months out of the year).
- May not use Federal funds from a grant to develop Challenge applications unless consistent with the purpose of the grant award.
- May not use Federal funds from a contract to develop Challenge applications or to fund efforts in support of a Challenge submission.
- Shall not be deemed ineligible because the individual or entity used Federal facilities or consulted with Federal employees during a competition if the facilities and employees are made equitably available to all individuals and entities participating in the competition.
- Shall not be required to purchase liability insurance as a condition of participation in this competition.
Additional Rules of Participation
By participating in this Challenge, each individual (whether participating singly or in a group) or entity:
- Agrees to follow all applicable Federal, State, and local laws, regulations, and policies.
- Agrees to comply with all terms and conditions of participation in this Challenge.
- Agrees that the submission will not use HHS or AHRQ logos or official seals and will not claim endorsement by HHS or AHRQ.
- Understands that all materials submitted to AHRQ as part of a submission become AHRQ records.
- Agrees that the submission must not infringe upon copyright or any other rights of any third party.
- Agrees to assume any and all risks and waive claims against the Federal Government and its related entities, except in the case of willful misconduct, for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from participation in this prize contest, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise.
- Agrees to indemnify the Federal Government against third-party claims for damages arising from or related to Challenge activities.
- Understands that AHRQ reserves the right to cancel, suspend, and/or modify this prize contest, or any part of it, for any reason, at AHRQ’s sole discretion. AHRQ also reserves the right not to award any prizes if no entries are deemed worthy.
- Understands that AHRQ will not select a winner that is named on the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS).
Intellectual Property (IP) Rights
- Each participant retains title and full ownership in and to their submission. Participants expressly reserve all intellectual property rights not expressly granted.
- By participating in the Challenge, each participant (whether participating singly or in a group) acknowledges that he or she is the sole author or owner of, or has a right to use, any copyrightable works that the submission comprises, that the works are wholly original with the participant (or is an improved version of an existing work that the participant has sufficient rights to use and improve), and that the submission does not infringe any copyright or any other rights of any third party of which participant is aware. In addition, each participant (whether participating singly or in a group) grants to the U.S. Government a paid-up, nonexclusive, royalty-free, irrevocable worldwide license and the right to reproduce, publish, post, link to, share, display publicly (on the web or elsewhere) and prepare derivative works, including the right to authorize others to do so on behalf of the U.S. Government.
- If the submission includes any third-party works (such as third party content or open source code), the participant must be able to provide, upon request, documentation of all appropriate licenses and releases for use of such third-party works. If the participant cannot provide documentation of all required licenses and releases, AHRQ reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify the submission.
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