HHS Announces Funding Opportunity to Improve AI-Powered Healthcare & Behavioral Health IT

What You Should Know: 

– The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), is seeking innovative solutions to advance healthcare through artificial intelligence (AI) and improve health IT adoption in behavioral health settings. 

– This initiative is driven by the Leading Edge Acceleration Projects (LEAP) in Health Information Technology (Health IT) funding opportunity for fiscal year 2024.

Focus Areas of the LEAP in Health IT Funding

  • Enhancing AI in Healthcare (Area 1):
    This area focuses on developing methods to evaluate and improve the quality of healthcare data used by AI tools. High-quality data is essential for the accuracy and effectiveness of AI-powered healthcare solutions. The ideal solutions will create scalable approaches to assess and improve EHR data used by AI tools.
  • Boosting Behavioral Health IT (Area 2): This area aims to accelerate the adoption of health IT in behavioral health settings. ONC seeks proposals for designing, developing, and piloting user-friendly health IT solutions that can:
    • Enhance health IT capabilities in behavioral health settings.
    • Improve care coordination between behavioral health and traditional healthcare settings.

Aligning with Recent Initiatives:

This LEAP funding opportunity builds upon recent efforts by the ONC Health IT Certification Program. Earlier in 2024, the program established new transparency requirements for AI and other predictive algorithms used in certified health IT.

Additionally, a multi-year collaboration between ONC and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – the Behavioral Health Information Technology Initiative – is investing over $20 million to advance health IT in behavioral health settings.

Funding and Application Details:

The ONC expects to award one cooperative agreement of up to $1 million for each focus area, totaling $2 million. Interested applicants can find more information and application details through NAP-AX-22-001 on Grants.gov.

“These two areas of interest are a natural extension of ONC’s work,” said Steve Posnack, deputy national coordinator for health information technology. “We look forward to receiving innovative applications and seeing the impacts generated by selected awardees.”