HHS calls for more innovations to follow-up care

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, citing a need to ease transitions for patients discharged from the hospital, announced the launch of the second part of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's Investing in Innovation (i2) Initiative.

Dubbed the Discharge Follow-Up Appointment challenge, the effort aims to use technology to help patients, their caregivers and providers coordinate the scheduling of follow-up appointments and tests before thepatient is discharged. The initiative was announced at today's Care Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C., co-hosted by the ONC, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the West Wireless Health Institute and Health Affairs.

"Scheduling post-discharge follow-up appointments is critical, but not easy for patients or providers, and we're excited by the possibilities that will stem from this challenge," National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari, M.D., said, according to an announcement.

The first part of the i2 initiative, which also focused on easing transitions for patients from the hospital to home, specifically called for ideas to help patients gain access to necessary discharge documentation, as well as to help patients share information with various providers (doctors, nurses, pharmacists) in their next care setting. That effort, the Ensuring Safe Transitions from Hospital to Home challenge, was launched last September and concluded in November. Axial Exchange's Care Transition Suite took first prize in that challenge.

Earlier this month, HHS also launched a video challenge focusing on patient engagement and IT use. Mostashari called for patients to tell their personal stories of how technology improved their health.

To learn more:
- read the HHS announcement
- here's information on the first challenge