About the Step-Up App Challenge: Advancing Care Through Patient Self-Assessments

Challenge Summary
What are Patient-Reported Outcomes (PROs)?
Why PRO Data Matters
The Problem to Solve
Challenge Objectives

Challenge Summary

In the AHRQ Step Up App Challenge: Advancing Care Through Patient Assessments, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is looking for teams to design, develop, and pilot a user-friendly application that simplifies the process of collecting, interpreting, aggregating, and sharing patient-reported outcomes (PRO) data related to physical function outcomes in the ambulatory care setting.

What are Patient-Reported Outcomes or PROs?

PROs are defined as "any report of 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 anyone else." In other words, PRO tools measure what patients are able to do and how they feel, via a questionnaire. They look beyond the clinical data to assess how a patient thinks about his or her physical, mental, and emotional health.

Why PRO Data Matters

PROs are vital to understanding the complex needs of a patient. The patient’s perspective on domains across conditions (e.g., self-reported health status, physical and emotional well-being) complement clinical assessments, providing a holistic view of the care received. Use of PROs for guiding and improving care is especially important for patients with multiple chronic conditions, older adults, and people with disabilities, as PROs can reflect outcomes of care for multiple conditions treated by multiple providers across multiple settings of care. The data are useful for providers, as well as patients and researchers, as they provide a deeper understanding of the patient’s physical, mental, and social well-being.

The Problem to Solve

Today, patients, researchers, and providers are unhappy with the current state of PRO data collection. Most PRO data are collected via pen and paper, which is difficult for patients and researchers to access and use. Researchers who want to analyze PRO data across different practices or health systems would benefit from a more standardized approach to collecting data. Recently, some digital tools have been developed to streamline the collection of PRO data. However, those digital tools are not widely adopted due to problems related to workflow integration and a lack of data standards. Developing an easily adoptable tool that collects and shares standardized data will solve this problem and advance the state of PROs.

Challenge Objectives

The AHRQ Step Up App Challenge encourages participants to create an application (app) that uses the technical specifications provided by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to advance the collection of standardized PRO data in ambulatory care settings. Participants will be asked to draft technical specifications employing the HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) Standards to develop the apps. The FHIR standard was designed to increase the liquidity of granular patient data. The technical specifications will allow standardized PRO data to move between vendor systems both within and across different providers, as well as through third-party applications for direct use by both clinicians and patients. AHRQ will provide a copy of the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS)® physical functioning measures for participants to use when developing the apps.

Page last reviewed August 2018
Page originally created August 2018
Internet Citation: About the Step-Up App Challenge: Advancing Care Through Patient Self-Assessments. Content last reviewed August 2018. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. https://www.ahrq.gov/stepupappchallenge/about.html
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