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HRSA Announces Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network Modernization Initiative

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced its intent to modernize the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN). The goal is to strengthen accountability, equity, and performance in the organ donation and transplantation system through a focus on technology; data transparency; governance; operations; and quality improvement and innovation. Substantive changes in IT functionality, transparency, and analytics are integral to this effort. Read more about this initiative.


ARPA-H Organizational Announcements

Recently, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) announced several important organizational updates to carry out its mission. Specifically, there will be a site selection of three hub sites across the nation to support the work of ARPA-H. The Agency also announced a funding opportunity for proposals to outline breakthrough research and technological advancement aiming to improve health outcomes across patient populations, communities, diseases, and health conditions. Further, the ARPA-H Dash competition was announced. Nominations for the ARPA-H Dash will be accepted March 29 through April 7 via an online portal. Find out more.

GAO Report on VA EHR Modernization

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) organizational management of its electronic health record modernization effort. GAO recommends the VA:

  • Document a VA-specific change management strategy to formalize its approach to drive user adoption.
  • Ensure that the department’s planned improvements to communication of system changes meets users’ needs for the frequency of the updates provided.
  • Take steps to improve change readiness scores prior to future deployments.
  • Ensure steps taken by the EHRM program and Oracle Cerner to increase workforce skills and competencies through improved training and related change management activities have been effective.
  • Address users’ barriers to change; develop a plan, including a timeline, for establishing (1) targets for measuring the adoption of changes and (2) metrics and targets to measure the resulting outcomes of the change.
  • Measure and report on outcomes of the change and take actions to support users’ ability to use the system to reinforce and sustain the change.

View the full report.

FDA Q/A for Clinical Investigations

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a draft, updated guidance document to provide information for sponsors, clinical investigators, institutional review boards, contract research organizations, and other stakeholders regarding the use of electronic systems, electronic records, and electronic signatures in clinical investigations of foods, medical products, tobacco products, and new animal drugs under FDA regulations. Comments requested by May 15. See draft guidance.

AI Challenge to Drive Better Healthcare Outcomes

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) launched the Applied AI Healthcare Challenge, a prize competition seeking solutions to help federal agencies provide the highest level of medical care. This challenge focuses on mental health, addiction, equity, the supply chain and safety of medications, and cancer research. Find out more.

OMB's Race and Ethnicity Statistical Standards Update

The Office of the Chief Statistician seeks input on suggested revisions to the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) statistical standards for collecting and reporting race and ethnicity data across Federal agencies. Comments due by April 12. See details.

Legislation and Politics

VA EHR Modernization

The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a recent oversight hearing on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Electronic Health Record Modernization Program. Both the House of Representatives and Senate continue to scrutinize the VA program amid concerns of patient safety and problems with implementation of the modernization effort. Read a recap of the hearing.

Interoperability of Medical Devices

Representatives Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-01), Greg Murphy (NC-03), Kim Schrier (WA-08), and Angie Craig (MN-02) introduced the Better Interoperability for Devices (BID) Act, legislation to require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to review the interoperability, safety, and effectiveness of medical devices. HHS would be required to submit a report to Congress to address multiple issues, including interoperability standards, patient access to data, and data safety. See text of the bill and view press release.

Around the Web

AMIA’s Washington Download is your source for health informatics policy news and information from around the Beltway, covering action from the Hill, the Administration, and important AMIA collaborators.