The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity to expand and accelerate innovative uses of electronic health information via health information exchanges (HIEs) to support state and local public health agencies. Strengthening health data exchange and use between HIEs and state and local public health agencies will help communities to better prevent, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies, including disasters and pandemics such as COVID-19.
With $2.5 million in funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) signed by President Trump on March 27, 2020, the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) will award up to five (5) cooperative agreements under the Strengthening the Technical Advancement and Readiness of Public Health Agencies via Health Information Exchange (STAR HIE) Program.
Award recipients will focus on improving HIE services (such as last-mile connectivity and data services) in support of state and local public health agencies. The STAR HIE Program aims to strengthen existing state and local HIE infrastructure so that public health agencies are able to better access, share, and use health information as well as support communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“State and local HIEs play a unique role in their communities by uniting health information from many different sites of service, including providers, hospitals, nursing homes, clinical laboratories, and public health departments, making them a natural fit to deliver innovative, local ‘last mile’ approaches to strengthen our overall public health response,” said Don Rucker, M.D., national coordinator for health information technology. “The funding opportunity we announced today will invest in infrastructure and data services for HIEs that provide critical real-time information to communities at the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Award recipients will be required to deploy services that can enable, enhance, or increase the use of health information exchange at the state and local levels among relevant entities, and be inclusive of a diverse set of participating providers, including those who care for vulnerable or at-risk populations. They also will be required to engage in activities that address communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, considering factors such as age, race, ethnicity, disability, and sex.
The funding opportunity can be accessed here.