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Update on Modular EHR Technology: Harvard’s SMArt Research

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.”

One of  these grants was awarded to a Harvard group led by Drs. Ken Mandl and Isaac Kohane, based in Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School. This research team is tackling the problems associated with developing an ecosystem of  modular, plug-and-play medical applications, what we have referred to as Clinical Groupware.  (Disclosure: DCK is on the Harvard SHARP grant’s advisory board.)

The research is aimed at creating a “medical apps store” based on the iPhone/iPad model of substitutable applications running on a device or platform. The name of the project, SMArt, stands for “Substitutable Medical Applications, re-useable technology.” The approach could impact both the EHR industry and the federal regulatory and standards process, possibly within a relatively short period, i.e., 1-3 years, so we think it merits your attention.

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