HRSA Selects Altarum to Lead Innovations in Newborn Screening Interoperability Resource Center 

August 12, 2020

Ann Arbor, MI — Altarum has been selected by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to lead the Innovations in Newborn Screening Interoperability Resource Center, a $3.8 million initiative over three years.   

The goal of the program is to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with heritable disorders in newborns and children by enhancing connectivity between state public health newborn screening programs and health care providers. The connectivity will improve the ability of states to conduct screening and report results in a timely manner, which increases the likelihood that infants with one of these newborn screening conditions will receive timely diagnoses and treatment.

Altarum and its partners—OZ Systems, the University of Michigan’s Susan B. Meister Child Health Evaluation and Research Center, and the American Academy of Pediatrics—will provide technical assistance to states to advance their newborn screening interoperability, from building a program portal and assessing state readiness to providing direct technical assistance and creating customized roadmaps for enhancing interoperability.

In leading the initiative, Altarum brings two decades of experience advancing states’ health information exchange and interoperability, which includes developing Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) solutions; building applications that support information exchange for disease surveillance and care coordination; and helping to create national standards for electronic birth defect reporting, newborn screening early hearing detection and intervention, and critical congenital heart defects/disease.

Altarum’s partners in the Newborn Screening Interoperability Resource Center also bring deep subject matter expertise in interoperability and childhood disease and prevention:

OZ Systems, an organization with extensive experience creating and providing information management and technical assistance to newborn screening programs, will recruit states to participate in the program, conduct environmental scans and readiness assessments, and deliver technical assistance.

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The University of Michigan’s Susan B. Meister Child Health Evaluation and Research Center, a national leader in pediatric health services research at Michigan Medicine, will conduct the assessment of the adoption and implementation of existing newborn screening standards and lead the program performance evaluation.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, a nonprofit professional membership association representing more than 67,000 pediatricians and related specialists, will help recruit their members to participate on state planning teams and help disseminate materials.

Newborn screening programs are a vital public health resource that enable millions of infants to benefit from early detection and intervention of genetic, endocrine, metabolic, hearing, and critical congenital heart conditions. Yet in many jurisdictions across the country newborn screening data can be fragmented, siloed, and subject to different screening procedures, methods, turnaround times, and approaches for interpreting results.

Altarum and its partners will help states and jurisdictions address these gaps, creating a more streamlined and uniform system of newborn screening and reporting.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $3,798,209 with 100 percent funded by HRSA/HHS. For more information, visit HRSA.gov.

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Altarum is a nonprofit organization that creates and implements solutions to advance health among vulnerable and publicly insured populations.