AHRQ Views

Blog posts from AHRQ leaders

Gopal Khanna, M.B.A., Director of AHRQMy focus at AHRQ has been reshaping the Agency’s work to meet the growing demands of the digitally enabled American healthcare landscape.   

The Nation’s healthcare delivery systems need state-of-the-art tools that provide insights gained from patient-reported outcomes (PROs) at the fingertips of clinicians to help them provide safe, high-quality care for the American people.

To that end, AHRQ today launched the AHRQ Step Up App Challenge, a three-phase competition to address the need for greater use of standardized PRO data in clinical care and research. The total prize pool for the challenge is $250,000. In partnership with AHRQ, the Office of the Secretary is providing financial support from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Trust Fund, and the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is leading stakeholder efforts to develop the technical specifications for the Step Up App Challenge.

What are PRO data? 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. These patient self-assessments offer a complementary perspective to clinician assessments and are also used in research to explore patient perspectives about their treatments, health outcomes, and the quality of services they received.

Assessments can yield insights into health status, function, symptom burden, adherence, health behaviors, and quality of life. However, these data have not been collected and used routinely in practice, in part because there is no standardized way to collect and integrate the information into health information technology systems. While some digital tools exist to collect these data, they are not in wide use due to problems with integrating them in practice workflow and patient discomfort with using such tools. This competition will address this issue and result in a user-friendly app that can enhance healthcare data collection and thereby improve the quality of care for all Americans.

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 want to support innovative thinkers who will develop and present an app capable of collecting standardized PRO data in various ambulatory settings, including primary and specialty care. 

AHRQ Step Up App Challenge has three phases that move from the development of a business proposal to a collaboration with MedStar Health to test the winning app in nine practice settings affiliated with MedStar Health in the Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. Cash prizes will be awarded at each phase with the grand prize winner receiving as much as $87,000.

The deadline for submitting app ideas is September 24. AHRQ will be holding a Webinar on the AHRQ Step Up App Challenge on August 23 from 11:00 am-12:00 pm (EDT) for interested applicants. Additional information on the AHRQ Step Up Challenge is available at www.ahrq.gov/stepupappchallenge

Gopal Khanna is the Director of AHRQ.

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Page last reviewed August 2018
Page originally created August 2018
Internet Citation: New App Development Challenge Advances Care Through Patient Self-Assessments. Content last reviewed August 2018. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. https://www.ahrq.gov/news/blog/ahrqviews/stepup-app-challenge.html
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