US CTO Aneesh Chopra announces the SMART Health App $5000 Challenge

On Tuesday, November 9, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra delivered a keynote address with Bill Gates at the 2010 mHealth Summit in Washington, D.C., featuring the efforts of Kenneth Mandl, MD, MPH, and Isaac Kohane, MD, PhD, of the Children’s Hospital Boston Informatics Program and Harvard Medical School, and the “SMART” (Substitutable Medical Applications, reusable technologies) project.

Mr. Chopra gave an overview of the project and announced a competition that will begin in March, challenging developers to create a health IT application that provides specific functionality for patients, physicians, or for public health, based on the Boston team’s SMART platform architecture and a common electronic medical record interface.

SMART seeks to recruit and support a new generation of innovators by providing a common interface to multiple HIT platforms. The SMART Health App $5,000 Challenge is to develop web apps that use the SMART API to provide value to patients, providers, researchers, and public health. Examples of such applications are medication management tools, health risk detectors, and e-prescribing applications.

A panel of acclaimed judges is being assembled to review submitted apps and will include Regina Herzlinger, the Nancy R. McPherson Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School; David Kibbe of the The Kibbe Group LLC and Director of the Center for Health Information Technology at the American Academy of Family Physicians; Doug Solomon, Chief Technology Officer at IDEO; Edward Tufte, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Statistics, and Computer Science at Yale University, and Jim Walker, Chief Health Information Officer at Geisenger Health Systems.

The challenge will open in March 2011.

Interested applicants can learn more and register their interest at

Tutorials: RDF and SPARQL

SMART apps receive patient data in RDF graphs that contain a set of assertions or “triples” such as:
{ <John Smith> <is-taking> <lipitor> }

We think RDF is a flexible and elegant way to represent all kinds of data.  But we recognize that RDF and SPARQL (a query language for RDF graphs) aren’t regular items in every Web developer’s toolkit. To help SMART developers get up to speed, we’ve written a pair of tutorials on our wiki:

  1. Quick Introduction to RDF and SPARQL:  Explains the basics of how RDF represents information as triples.
  2. SPARQL Examples for SMART:  Provides a live, hands-on interface to query sample SMART data from the reference container.

Please have a look, try out the live query tools, and let us know what you think!