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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has launched a developer’s challenge to create a mobile phone application that delivers information directly to women at high risk of breast, cervical, uterine and ovarian cancers or women who already have been diagnosed with these cancers.
The software challenge is aimed at helping minority women and those who are medically underserved to fight and prevent cancer.
The app must be able to communicate with electronic health records (EHRs) used by their healthcare providers or their patient portals and protect patient privacy. The app must also be able to provide specific reminders and trigger EHR-based clinical decision support about preventive services.
The resulting successful apps will be available to women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, according to an Aug. 24 announcement.
More than 300,000 new cases of breast, cervical, uterine, and ovarian cancer are diagnosed each year, according to the National Cancer Institute.
While the incidence and prevalence of these cancers are widespread and geographically and socially diverse, “they strike minority and underserved women with a disproportionate lethality caused by many factors,” said a notice in the Aug. 27 Federal Register. These include disparities in prevention, early treatment, quality of care and outcomes.
“Through the use of smartphone and computer apps, women and the community health workers on whom they depend for healthcare information will be able to have information they need – and in many cases, at their fingertips,” said Dr. David Hunt, ONC medical director.
The Reducing Cancer Among Women of Color App Challenge is a partnership between ONC and the HHS Office of Minority Health.“By providing the right information at the right time, mobile apps can help minority and underserved women make informed decisions about their own health and benefit from the recommended preventive services provided at no cost under the health care law,” said Dr. J. Nadine Gracia, acting deputy assistant secretary for minority health.
The first place app developer will be awarded $85,000 for the challenge, part of ONC’s Investing in Innovation (i2) Initiative. Developers must submit their apps by Feb. 5, 2013.