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Opportunity for USA Individuals and Entities to Devise Improvements to Digital Healthcare Systems

AHRQ Challenge: Designing the Optimal Future State of CDS Connect


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
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Geographic Focus

Important Dates
Deadline: 12/06/23 11:59 PM EST Save

Grant Description
Opportunity for USA individuals and entities to devise improvements to digital healthcare systems. Applicants are advised that required registrations must be completed prior to applying. The challenge is comprised of two levels: design proposal and presentation. Applicants who succeed at the first level will be invited to participate in the second level. Prizes will be given in four categories: Best Overall Design, Best Technical Functionalities, Best Value Proposition, and Most Innovative Design.

Healthcare is undergoing a rapid digital expansion that will lead to innovations in using technology and data to impact care. To support this digital expansion into healthcare, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has funded a portfolio of projects and research to create actionable findings and support the implementation of those findings as part of cutting-edge clinical practice. 

The rapid evolution and growing role of digital technologies in healthcare has increased the importance of CDS Connect as a freely available source of up-to-date tools and resources. To ensure that CDS Connect is sustainable and will continue to evolve to meet the needs of its stakeholders, AHRQ is exploring collaborative initiatives with private industry and non-profit entities as a potential path forward. AHRQ is announcing a competition to solicit innovative input on the future functionalities and roles of CDS Connect through a collaborative initiative with the Agency. AHRQ will use this information to help the Agency identify collaborative models that have the potential to sustain and further develop CDS Connect as a public resource.

The purpose of this Challenge Competition is to solicit ideas on the future state of CDS Connect. Specifically, the competition seeks input on:

  • Improving the functionality, value, and accessibility of CDS Connect
  • Understanding the potential role CDS Connect can have in quality improvement, based on emerging marketplaces of shareable, interoperable clinical decision support
  • How CDS Connect can best continue to disseminate and promote standards-based CDS
  • Methods by which industry, government, and nonprofit entities can collaborate to achieve this goal 

Phase 1: Design Proposal: The objective of Phase 1 is for participants to describe, through a 25-page white paper, a design for a future state of CDS Connect supported by a collaboration between AHRQ and private industry. Submissions, at a minimum, must demonstrate how their design addresses the four key areas below.

  1. Future Functionalities/Capabilities
  2. Value Proposition
  3. Roles and Authority
  4. Business Model

For additional information, see the Full Grant Text RFP link. 

Phase 2: Presentation: The objective of Phase 2 is for participants, through a live virtual presentation, to explain the strengths of their Phase 1 white paper submission. In addition to discussing their design, participants will also be asked to address three additional questions during the presentation:

  1. What are the biggest challenges facing adoption and incorporation of CDS, and how does your future concept of CDS Connect address those challenges?
  2. How does your future concept of CDS Connect help to realize the promise of CDS to improve the use of evidence-based practices, improve patient and provider experience, and reduce diagnostic errors and costs?
  3. How does your future concept of CDS Connect help to increase patient and provider trust in CDS?


Additional Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible under this Challenge, an individual (whether participating singly or in a group) or entity:
- Must have registered ( to participate in the Challenge.
- Must have complied with the rules set forth in this announcement for participation in this Challenge.
- Must be incorporated and maintain a primary place of business in the United States (in the case of a private entity), and in the case of an individual, whether participating singly or in a group, shall be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
- Shall not be deemed ineligible because the individual or entity used Federal facilities or consulted with Federal employees during a competition if the facilities and employees are made equitably available to all individuals and entities participating in the competition.
- Shall not be required to purchase liability insurance as a condition of participation in this competition.

- May not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment. (All Federal employees should consult with their agency Ethics Official to determine whether the Federal ethics rules will limit or prohibit the acceptance of a prize).
- May not be an employee of AHRQ or any other company, organization, or individual involved with the design, production, execution, judging, or distribution of the Challenge, or their immediate family (spouse, parents and stepparents, siblings and stepsiblings, and children and stepchildren), or household members (people who share the same residence at least 3 months out of the year).
- May not use Federal funds from a grant to develop Challenge applications unless consistent with the purpose of the grant award.
- May not use Federal funds from a contract to develop Challenge applications or to fund efforts in support of a Challenge submission.

Pre-Application Information
- Apply for this Challenge between September 19, 2023 9:00AM EST and December 6, 2023 11:59 PM EST.
- January 2024: AHRQ will announce the winners of Phase 1 and launch Phase 2. AHRQ will host a technical assistance webinar for winners of Phase 1 to discuss the parameters of Phase 2 and to answer any questions. The technical assistance webinar for Phase 2 will take place in January 2024. Information to register for the technical assistance webinar will be provided to Phase 1 winners after winners are announced
- February 2024: Phase 2 presentations will occur
- March 2024: AHRQ will announce the overall winners of the Challenge Competition

AHRQ will complete the review of the proposals within approximately 6 weeks of the submission due date. AHRQ will announce up to 10 winners of Phase 1.

The winners of Phase 1 will be invited to participate in Phase 2.

Presentations must be slide-based and may include other multimedia formats such as images, graphs, tables, and videos. Participants will be given up to 40 minutes in length to present and discuss their Phase 1 design and up to 20 minutes to provide their answers to the additional three questions. Presentations will be recorded for AHRQ use and review only. Participants will be required to submit their presentation slide set to AHRQ at least 2 business days before their presentation.

Phase 2 presentations will occur during mid- to late-January 2024. Specific dates will be provided to selected Phase 1 winners.

AHRQ will announce the overall winners of the Challenge Competition within approximately 6 weeks of the last presentation given.

Participants should be registered in the System for Award Management ( in the event that they win a monetary prize to be able to receive federal payment.

Number of Grants
Up to 10 winners for Phase 1.

Estimated Size of Grant
AHRQ will award a cash prize of $25,000 to the winner in each category. There will be only one winner per category. Participants cannot be awarded a cash prize in more than one category (no multiple category winners).

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