Costs prevent doctors from adopting electronic health records

Nature Medicine / Spoonful of Medicine, February 24, 2011 — Michelle Pflumm
Two years ago, the US government set aside close to $20 billion in stimulus funds to encourage hospitals and physicians to digitize their patient records as a way to save time and reduce doctor mistakes. But according to a survey published this week, most physicians remain wary of the price of going electronic…

Some SHARP ideas for health IT

Healthcare IT News, February 22, 2011 — Mike Miliard
Several leaders of the Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects Program (SHARP) showed HIMSS11 attendees how they are – in the words of Charles Friedman, PhD, chief science officer of the ONC – “moving the needle forward” on breakthrough healthcare technology…

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!

Health 2.0

The fourth annual Health 2.0 conference is abuzz about “unplatforms” — loose collections of liquid data services and interlinked apps that allow for mix-ins, mash-ups, and rapid innovation. The unplatform is “un” becaues it doesn’t rely on a central service, repository, or framework. Instead, it’s a frothy milieu of various data and services: in other words, all right ingredients for apps to emerge.
Continue reading “Health 2.0”

Update on Modular EHR Technology: Harvard’s SMArt Research

Kibbe and Klepper on Health Care, October 5, 2010 — David Kibbe and Brian Klepper
ONC awarded four Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Project (SHARP) grants earlier this year to ”…address well-documented problems that have impeded adoption of health IT and to accelerate progress towards achieving nationwide meaningful use of health IT in support of a high-performing, learning health care system.”…

Resources from Developers Meeting

We now have several resources that were created and used for our developers meeting available.
SMART Architecture Slideshow
SMART Governance Slideshow
SMART Demo Screencast

SMArt Health

The Huffington Post, September 9, 2010 — Ron Gutman
The remarkable report “Initial Lessons From the First National Demonstration Project on Practice Transformation to a Patient-Centered Medical Home,” in the May/June Annals of Family Medicine, makes this point about the state of primary care information technology (IT): “Technology needed for the PCMH [patient-centered medical home] is not plug and play. … The hodgepodge of information technology marketed to primary care practices resembles more a pile of jigsaw pieces than components of an integrated and interoperable system.”…

SMART Developers Meeting Attended by 60+ People

On August 26th, we had our first Developer’s Meeting here at the SMART headquarters at the Center for Biomedical Informatics in the Countway Library of Medicine. Over 60 academic, vendor, and government representatives participated in the event. The conversation was so lively that we were shushed by one of the librarians, which we took to be a good sign. The presentations made by Ben Adida, our lead architect, and Josh Mandel, our lead developer, may be found here. If you would like to participate in one of our upcoming events, please let us know.

Is Healthcare Ready for SMArt’er Applications??

CONNECT Blog, September 2, 2010 — Greg Fairnak
The researchers at Harvard University think so and so do I. Last week I had the chance to attend the first developer’s conference for the Substitutable Medical Applications, reusable technologies, or SMArt. The architecture will provide a set of core services to facilitate substitutable healthcare applications, or plug-ins, similar to the App Store found in the iPad, iTouch or Droid. In attendance were open source solution vendors, healthcare IT thought leaders (Stan Huff and John Halamka), commercial healthcare application vendors, researchers, software developers and federal healthcare agency representatives (FDA, VA and DoD)….