AHRQ Views

Blog posts from AHRQ leaders

Gopal Khanna, Director of AHRQ.Last month, I wrote about the groundbreaking AHRQ Step Up App Challenge, a competition to address the need for greater use of standardized patient-reported outcomes (PRO) data in clinical care and research.  The total prize pool for the challenge is $250,000.

As a reminder, PRO data are defined as any report on the status of a patient’s health condition that comes directly from the patient, without interpretation of the patient’s response by a clinician or other medical expert.

Seeing health care from the patient’s perspective is critically important. These assessments can yield insights into health status, function, symptom burden, adherence, health behaviors, and quality of life, but they have not been collected and used routinely in practice. Why?  There is no standardized way to collect and integrate the information into health information technology systems.  

It’s also critically important to embrace the digital health care landscape that we are all a part of and recognize what that means for how we access and use health care services. The digital tools that exist to collect these data are not in wide use due to challenges of integrating them in practice workflow and patient reluctance to use such tools.

That’s exactly why AHRQ is sponsoring this challenge. The competition will result in a user-friendly app that can enhance healthcare data collection and thereby improve the quality of care for all Americans.  It has three phases that move from the development of a business proposal, development of the app, and finally, to a collaboration with MedStar Health for testing the winning app in nine practice settings affiliated with MedStar Health in Washington, D.C. Cash prizes will be awarded at each phase with the grand prize winner receiving as much as $87,000.

With the submission deadline of September 24 coming up fast, I want to highlight some tools to help potential applicants submit winning applications.  

On August 23, more than 100 potential applicants logged into a Webinar that provided an overview of the AHRQ Step Up App Challenge.  The Webinar slides (PDF, 4 MB) are posted on the AHRQ challenge microsite. I think you’ll find them very informative.

In addition, questions raised during the Webinar ranged from logistical, such as how many people can participate in a team, to the technical, including the Health Level 7 (HL7®) Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) standards and the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System  (PROMIS®) measures that should be used in the app. Please note that the developer community is required to use current and emerging open API standards, such as the HL7® FHIR® and OAuth 2.0.

We also have posted answers to these questions and others in a Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 93 KB) document, which we will update as we receive questions from potential applicants.

The Step Up App Challenge is part of AHRQ’s ongoing effort to help shape the Nation’s digital healthcare ecosystem and realize its potential to improve outcomes through broader use of patient data. We are seeking innovative thinkers who will develop and present an app capable of collecting standardized PRO data in various ambulatory settings, including primary and specialty care.

Don’t forget the September 24 deadline for submissions!  We’re excited to see your best ideas!

Gopal Khanna is the Director of AHRQ.

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Page last reviewed September 2018
Page originally created September 2018
Internet Citation: Apply by September 24 for AHRQ’s New App Development Challenge!. Content last reviewed September 2018. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. https://www.ahrq.gov/news/blog/ahrqviews/stepup-app-challenge-sept24.html
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