ONC seeks tools to better understand how and why EHR errors happen

A new challenge seeks tools that will allow EHR users to flag concerns or issues within their existing workflow.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) at the Department of Health and Human Services in a new challenge is seeking tools that will make it easier for doctors and nurses to flag any concerns they may have while using electronic health record technology (EHR).

EHR use is extremely popular in hospitals and doctors’ offices across the country — the technology adds a new level of ease to physician workflow. However, the systems also present new challenges from time to time. In order to fix issues or failures, EHR developers and designers need feedback from those who know the systems most intimately — the physician users. But in order to get this user feedback, ONC believes, the EHR needs to make it easy.

This is what the competition targets.

“Mechanisms widely available on the market today normally require the end user to either exit the EHR system entirely or leave the current workflow process in order to report the problem,” a background description of the challenge states. “Clinicians need better reporting mechanisms that are designed to address the end user’s needs and are complementary with the workflow processes and systems they use.”


The challenge calls on entrepreneurs, developers and other innovators to build tools that easily allows doctors to report concerns about an EHR to the hospital’s IT team, the EHR developer or patient safety organizations. According to the challenge requirements, the tool must “allow the end user to access and use the reporting tool when and where the concern arises without exiting the EHR system workflow process currently in use.”

The tool should also “minimize the time and effort” the physician needs to expend to report an issue but making it achievable in as few clicks as possible.

The challenge, which is posted to governmentwide competition site, launched earlier this month and will be open until October 2018. There’s a total of $80,000 in prizes available, with $45,000 for the first place winner.

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