Accessibility and usability in health IT are high priority issues for the disabled community.

A consumer-oriented system providing easy-to-use access to health information would be a valuable tool and significantly improve the health of disabled individuals.

With the EHR Accessibility Module Challenge, the ONC called on multidisciplinary teams to create and test a module or application that makes it easy for disabled consumers to access and interact with the health data stored in their EHRs.

Basic requirements for the proposed solutions included that the application should be easy for individuals with disabilities to consume and interact with the health data stored in EHRs, easy to install and learn to use, identify and link to relevant local or online communities and organizations, be able to download data from one or more EHR systems, leverage and extend NwHIN standards and services including transport, content and standardized vocabulary.

First prize went to Pinaxis for their application Apollo, which is a patient-facing, fully-accessible portal for interacting with a provider’s existing EHR system over the web. Pinaxis receives $60,000 cash and will have an opportunity to present their product at the upcoming mHealthSummit in Washington, DC next month.

The Apollo system is a 508 compliant “Universal Tethered PHR” that uses an abstraction layer data model to interact with multiple EHRs.

The two runners-up, Remedy Systems and Register Patient, will each receive $5,000 for their efforts. Remedy Systems application, mVHR, provides physicians and patients with access to real-time Continuity of Care Documents including lab results, medications, immunizations and more. The target markets for the mVHR app are hospitals, interoperability and health IT vendors, EMRs and patients. iOS accessibility features enable a visually impaired physician and/or patient to fully utilize all of the features of the mVHR app. Custom hints and labels provide control over what is being read out loud, and ensures that medical data is presented in a way that is audibly coherent and comprehensive.

The Register Patient application is developed for an Android tablet with accessibility mode activated for the vision impaired. The patient will be able to enter personal health data into the PHR by simply speaking when the app verbally requests information. The app allows patients to navigate by verbally describing each item as it is touched, and patients can initiate app features using voice commands such as “send PDF”, “search for provider” and “send message to provider”. Patients can use the secure messaging feature to transmit their CCD to their provider for import into their EHR.