HHS to fund $60 million in projects to address 'meaningful use' barriers

January 28, 2010

The Department of Health and Human Services expects to award in March $60 million to universities and research centers to support the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) expects to award in March $60 million to universities and research centers to support the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology (IT). The Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP) program is designed to address existing barriers in the following four areas:

Security and risk mitigation policies and the technologies deemed necessary to build and preserve the public trust as health IT systems become ubiquitous.

Patient-centered cognitive support to harness the power of health IT in a patient-focused manner and align the technology with the day-to-day practice of medicine to support clinicians as they care for patients.

New and improved architectures necessary to achieve electronic exchange and use of health information in a secure, private, and accurate manner.

Strategies to enhance the use of health IT in improving the overall quality of healthcare, population health, and clinical research while protecting patient privacy.

Each funding agreement, authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and part of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act provisions of ARRA, will last four years.

"Innovative research and approaches are required to overcome some of the foremost challenges we face in achieving our vision of a transformed healthcare system enabled through health IT," David Blumenthal, MD, HHS national coordinator for health information technology, said in a prepared statement. "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."