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The Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects on Security (SHARPS) was an inter-disciplinary and multi-institutional collection of projects supported by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT in the Department of Health and Human Services. It developed technologies and policy insights concerning the requirements, foundations, design, development, and deployment of security and privacy tools and methods as they apply to health information technology.  SHARPS was comprised of 64 projects organized into four clusters.

The primary goals of SHARPS were:

  • Advancing security and privacy technologies and policies to remove key barriers that limit the use of valuable health information.
  • Developing an integrated security and privacy research community for Health IT (HIT) that will continue  following the culmination of the SHARPS program.

There were addressed with attention to three cross-cutting themes:

  • Conceptual and Policy Foundations: formulate privacy as an appropriate constraint to information flow (e.g., sharing, distribution, and use for treatment or capital management) by drawing on the foundation of contextual integrity.
  • Service Models: overcome security and privacy barriers through functional Information Technology (IT) components provided as separable modules or services.
  • Open Validation: support validation and testing for healthcare security and privacy by the research community by providing test-beds, methodologies, open-source software, and measurable benchmarks.

The managing participants of SHARPS are its senior investigators. Carl Gunter served as the director with John C. Mitchell and William W. Stead as its Chief IT Scientist and Chief Medical Scientist respectively. An executive committee consisting of these three together with leads for the four primary technical focus areas provided top level management of the project. The projects were carried out by twelve universities and their collaborators. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign served as the lead institution. These twelve institutions were each led by their respective senior investigators.

SHARPS was advised by a project advisory committee of leaders in academic research, industrial research, healthcare delivery organizations, developers of HIT, government healthcare, policy leaders, and stakeholder groups.