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News & Updates

October 2019

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From the ROCC Desk

Recording Now Available: Combining Technology, Scientific Research, and Data – NIH’s Encouragement of the FHIR Standard for Research

On October 8, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) hosted a webinar about the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) decision to promote the use of FHIR-compatible data formats to help accelerate the interoperability of data and its use for clinical research purposes.

The webinar featured presentations by Clem J. McDonald, MD, Chief Health Data Standards Officer, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, and Teresa Zayas-Cabán, PhD, Chief Scientist, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and was moderated by W. Ed Hammond, PhD, Director, Duke Center for Health Informatics, Clinical and Translational Science Institute. View the webinar recording here.

Among other topics, the webinar referenced NIH’s release of a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input on how the FHIR standard “could be used to capture, integrate, and exchange clinical data for research purposes and to enhance capabilities to share research data.” Comments may be submitted through November 23. If you would like to provide input to the response that the AAMC is drafting, please contact Anne Berry at


NIH Announces 2019 Director's Awards for High-Risk, High-Reward Research

The NIH announced 93 High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program awards that fund "extraordinarily creative scientists proposing highly innovative research to address major challenges in biomedical science." The 2019 awards include 11 Pioneer awards, 60 New Innovator awards, 9 Transformative Research awards, and 13 Early Independence awards.

AHRQ Health Information Technology Research: 2018 Year in Review

This new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) describes the impact of AHRQ-funded health information technology research on the quality and safety of healthcare nationwide. The report includes actionable findings from patient-centered projects ranging from the development of self-management mobile technologies to telemedicine.


An Introduction to Machine Learning for Clinicians

This perspective article, published in Academic Medicine, provides a “nontechnical introduction to the concept of ML in the context of health care, the challenges that arise, and the resulting implications for clinicians.”

After 20 Years of Improving America’s Healthcare, AHRQ Makes Bold Plans for Future Successes

In this AHRQ Views blog post, AHRQ Director Gopal Khanna, MBA, celebrates 20 years of AHRQ and outlines the priorities for AHRQ’s future initiatives.


Comparing Deep Learning Diagnostic Performance with Healthcare Professionals

Though recent reports of artificial intelligence outmatching human diagnostic skill have been a subject of great controversy, a meta-analysis in The Lancet Digital Health found that the diagnostic abilities of deep learning models were neither better nor worse than human clinicians, and identified reporting challenges in artificial intelligence studies that limit the reliability of the available data. NEJM Journal Watch discussed the study in their October 4 podcast.

NIH Funding Disparity Between Black and White Scientists Partly Driven by Research Topic

A new study published in Science Advances indicates that research topic choice accounts for more than 20% of the gap between black and white scientists’ receipt of NIH-sponsored funding. Black scientists were more likely to propose community or population-based research, which is funded at a lower rate than molecular and cellular research, though no explanation was given as to the disparity in funding topics. The NIH issued a press release about the study’s findings.

Waste in the US Health Care System: Estimated Costs and Potential for Savings

The findings of this review, published in JAMA, estimate the levels of waste in the U.S. health care system to cost between $760 billion and $935 billion and account for 25% of total health care spending.  The authors determine that “Implementation of effective measures to eliminate waste represents an opportunity to reduce the continued increases in US health care expenditures.”

Get Involved

Topic Suggestions for AHRQ Evidence-based Practice Center

Nov. 4 – Deadline to suggest topics for the next fiscal year of AHRQ’s Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) reports. The EPC reports are evidence reviews provided at no cost to aid providers in making evidence-informed clinical decisions.

Request for Information: Evolving the National Network of Libraries of Medicine

Dec. 2 – Deadline to submit comments to the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) to inform the application process for future NNLM project cycles. Input from stakeholders is requested regarding ways the NNLM can “provide U.S. health professionals with better access to biomedical information and improve the public’s access to trusted health information.”

Advocacy Corner

Advocating for Science and Research Investment

A recent Nature Career Column offers practical advice to learners and researchers who want to advocate for government investment in funding scientific research, including how to identify partners, tailor messages, and maintain communication and relationships with policymakers.

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