Administration launches health IT investment initiative

The Obama administration on Wednesday launched a new initiative aimed at spurring health information technology innovations and awarded the first $5 million to two projects.

The so-called Investing in Innovations (i2) Initiative was made possible by the America Competes Reauthorization Act of 2010, which was signed into law Jan. 4. It uses prizes and challenges to spur research and development and improve U.S. competitiveness.

"The initiative … provides a platform that will attract an expanded community of innovators," Farzad Mostashari, the national coordinator for health information technology, said in a statement. "It opens the door to new opportunities for open collaboration from a wide range of diverse individuals and organizations that will increase the national rate of innovation and adoption of health IT as we improve health care of all Americans." 

Examples include applications that allow people to securely share health information with members of their social network; that can provide access to rigorous and relevant information for patients, caregivers and providers; that allow individuals to connect during natural disasters and other emergencies; and tools that facilitate exchange of health information while allowing individuals to control their privacy settings.