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12/21/2009
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Feds Grant $60M For Health IT Research

The grant program is focused on areas, including security, where breakthroughs are needed to drive adoption and meaningful use of health IT.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services is planning to make $60 million in stimulus funds available for health information technology research, specifically focused on areas where breakthrough advances are needed to address existing barriers to the adoption and meaningful use of health IT.

The Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP) program, announced Friday, uses funding from the U.S. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). It focuses on four areas:

  1. Security and risk mitigation to build and preserve public trust in health IT;
  2. Patient-centered cognitive support, to align health IT with the daily practice of medicine to support clinician care of patients;
  3. Health care application and network platform architectures necessary to achieve electronic exchange and use of health information in a secure, private, and accurate manner;
  4. Secondary use of electronic health record data for improving overall quality of health care, population health, and clinical research while maintaining patient privacy.

Each agreement will last four years, and will require recipients to implement a collaborative, interdisciplinary program. HHS expects the projects will implement cooperative programs between researchers, health care providers, and other health IT stakeholders.

The agreements are part of a series of grants to help strengthen and support use of health information technology to improve quality and efficiency of care for all Americans.

"The SHARP program will bring together some of the best and brightest minds in the nation to find breakthrough solutions and innovations that will eliminate barriers to adoption and, over time, increase the meaningful use of health IT to improve the health and care of all Americans," said Dr. David Blumenthal, the HHS national coordinator for health information technology, in a statement.

Applications are due on Jan. 25, 2010, with awards anticipated in March 2010.

Information about the SHARP program and the cooperative agreement applications can be found at HealthIT.gov and at grants.gov.

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