HHS Wants A Way to Move Patient Data Securely

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The department wants your input on APIs.

Want to transfer your health records from one place to the next with a single tap of your phone?

Chances are your health system isn't equipped to let you do that yet. But the federal government wants ideas for systems that could let consumers choose to move their health data wherever they want -- and to do so seamlessly. 

The Health and Human Services Department is hosting a competition in search of an application programming interface that would allow patients to "securely authorize" records transfer "to destinations they choose." 

Participants must create their own APIs and test them on individuals they've recruited. Those testers must also have agreed to release their health data. 

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The contest is multiphase: the first awards $5,000 to 10 finalists for API proposals. The second gives $20,000 to up to five teams based on a prototype they create. In the third phase, up to two finalists could win $50,000 for implementing their products. Finalists are then expected to demonstrate their consumer-facing API. 

The event, called the Move Health Forward challenge, is operated by HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and launches this week. Submissions are due in early September. 

Submissions are to be judged by panelists including federal employees and experts, the posting said. Judging criteria include the ease with which the technology can find and retrieve patient health data.