It was enjoyable to join my four fellow directors on November 18, 2013 in a Featured Presentation at AMIA entitled The SHARP Program and the Next Generation of Health Information Technology. Chuck Friedman, whose efforts at HHS ONC created the SHARP program, moderated the session. We had about 5 minutes each to present our 4 year projects. This caused some run-overs and a lot of need to keep the discussion high-level, but it was still a good overview of the project as a whole even with its broad scope. Folks were invited to see more details about the projects using dedicated web pages we created for AMIA participants.
After our initial presentations, we settled in on some questions about the future of health information technology beyond SHARP, which ends for the primary ONC programs in March of 2014. A consensus of the panel was the need for more openness for data and platforms and more protections for security, privacy, and safety. To enable this we need more standardization and greater attention to quality and usability. Many of the trends in health IT are indeed headed in this direction. One can already see gains from the SHARP research and how they aid progress in standards bodies, regulatory agencies, and vendors. Personally I hope to see some fruit from these trends in our impending work on the NSF Frontier project Trustworthy Health and Wellness (THaW) which involves a substantial part of the SHARPS team.