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Empowering providers to improve care for disadvantaged patients: design and prototype testing of novel user interface for electronic health records

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R41MD017162-01
Agency Tracking Number: R41MD017162
Amount: $255,147.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: 102
Solicitation Number: MD21-005
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-01-13
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2022-12-31
Small Business Information
38 8TH ST #5
Cambridge, MA 02141-1525
United States
DUNS: 037147936
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (617) 864-6844
Business Contact
Phone: (617) 864-6844
Research Institution
1776 MAIN ST
SANTA MONICA, CA 90401-3208
United States

 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization

There is an emerging digital divide in healthcare between those who care for disadvantaged patients and those who care
for less vulnerable populations. In the past decade, electronic health record (EHR) adoption and use has increased but
unequally. Providers caring for disadvantaged populations are less likely to have and use advanced EHRs with
sophisticated clinical decision support, analytics, and other functionalities. While EHRs are failing to meet the needs of
United States’ providers more generally, EHR-related challenges are particularly acute for providers who treat
disadvantaged populations due to time pressures, limited resources, and the need to address many social issues.
Furthermore, EHRs have resulted in the accumulation of vast amounts of data, but providers do not have time to sift
through it all in a patient encounter – better tools are needed to summarize, organize, and display the data in a way that
better supports care. For chronic conditions such as diabetes, providers need to instantly see, assess, and take action on
their patients’ status in a glance, without searching through laboratory results, weights, diet, history, medications, notes,
and comorbidities scattered throughout a system. ASP.MD and the RAND Corporation have developed preliminary
designs for a more usable EHR user interface (UI) that organizes and consolidates clinical data into “Viewers” based on
clinically meaningful problems. Viewers are far more advanced than traditional problem lists. They visualize context-
relevant longitudinal data, set visit agendas, track tasks, and execute other clinically useful activities. These visual
innovations help providers quickly assess a patient’s overall status and specific clinical needs based on their data and
symptoms. In this work, we will engage providers who care for Medicaid and other disadvantaged populations to further
develop and test this novel EHR UI. In Aim 1, we will use user-centered design methods to develop detailed prototypes
and clinical scenarios for testing. The scenarios will be common for providers who treat disadvantaged populations and
they will promote improvement on established quality measures. We will integrate these prototypes into an existing
EHR, developed by ASP.MD. In Aim 2, we will test the usability of the prototypes through structured sessions. ASP.MD is
an ideal setting for developing and testing this innovation by building off its existing, federally certified commercial EHR
and practice management systems. ASP.MD’s EHR is web-based, making it possible to immediately distribute new
features to all users. We will build using the standards-based fast health interoperability resource (FHIR) application
programming interfaces (API), making it possible to use our Viewers with other EHRs as well. This work has the potential
to substantially reduce disparities by giving providers who care for disadvantaged populations an affordable, advanced
EHR. Providers will have access to relevant, organized, synthesized clinical data at the point of care, facilitating their
ability to close quality of care gaps and reducing burnout. It also has the potential to greatly improve the quality of data
in EHRs, which can enable further innovation.PROJECT NARRATIVE
Healthcare providers who serve Medicaid and other disadvantaged populations struggle to afford and use electronic
health records to improve care for their patients. We will design and develop a novel, affordable approach for organizing
clinical and social data so that these providers will be able to have relevant, actionable data at the point of care through
a cloud-based electronic health record. This innovation has the potential to reduce disparities by empowering providers
who care for disadvantaged populations to work more efficiently, optimize their access to relevant clinical data, and
facilitate improvements in patient health outcomes.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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