AHRQ Launches New App Challenge To Advance Care Through Patient Self-Assessments

Press Release Date: August 13, 2018

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) today launched the AHRQ Step Up App Challenge, a three-phase 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.  

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 data can yield insights into health status, function, symptom burden, adherence, health behaviors, and quality of life.

“While some digital tools exist to collect these data, they are not in wide use due to problems with integrating them in practice workflow, as well as patients’ discomfort with using such tools,” said AHRQ Director Gopal Khanna, MBA. “This competition will address this issue and result in a user-friendly app that can enhance health care 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 health care ecosystem and realize its potential to improve outcomes through broader use of patient data. 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.

PRO data or 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.

However, PRO data are not routinely collected and used in practice. One reason is that there is no standardized way to collect and integrate PRO data into health IT systems, thereby limiting the ability for clinicians to use the data or easily share these data across health systems for research or other purposes, including quality improvement.

The AHRQ Step Up App Challenge seeks innovative technologists who can develop and present user-friendly apps capable of collecting standardized PRO data in various ambulatory settings, including primary and specialty care. The winning app will be tested in nine practice settings affiliated with MedStar Health in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.

The AHRQ Step Up App Challenge has three phases:

  • Phase 1: Participants will submit a five-page business proposal, demonstrating the originality and feasibility of their app idea.  Up to 10 winners will be selected with a prize of up to $12,000 each.
  • Phase 2: Phase one winners will develop and present an app capable of collecting standardized PRO data in various ambulatory care settings, including primary and specialty care.  First prize in this phase is up to $35,000, second prize is up to $30,000, and third prize is $25,000.
  • Phase 3: The grand prize winner in phase two will collaborate with MedStar Health to test the app in nine practices.  Upon completion of a successful pilot test, the grand prize winner will be awarded up to $40,000, bringing the winning prize to 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

AHRQ is the lead Federal agency charged with improving the safety and quality of America's health care system. AHRQ develops the knowledge, tools, and data needed to improve the health care system and help Americans, health care professionals, and policymakers make informed health decisions. Learn more about the Agency at www.ahrq.gov.

Page last reviewed August 2018
Page originally created August 2018
Internet Citation: AHRQ Launches New App Challenge To Advance Care Through Patient Self-Assessments. Content last reviewed August 2018. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. https://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsroom/press-releases/stepup-app-challenge.html
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