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RECs Talk ‘Next Step’ at HIMSS Conference

March 12, 2013 | By More

RECs Talk Next Step at HIMSSRECs Discuss Transition Plans Post HITECH Funding

The Health Information Technology Extension Program was authorized by the HITECH Act and awarded 62 grants for Health Information Technology Regional Extension Centers (RECs) and a national Health IT Research Center (HITRC). The Centers offer technical assistance, guidance, and information to support and accelerate health care providers’ efforts to become meaningful users of Electronic Health Records (EHRs). The goal of the Regional Extension Center program was to provide outreach and support services to at least 100,000 priority primary care providers within two years. Currently they have surpassed this number and are continuing to help providers and critical access hospitals to adopt electronic health records.

While at HIMSS I spent some of my time interviewing representatives from the RECs that were in attendance. I asked them two questions. The first was to highlight achievements from their Centers. The second was to tell us about any plans for moving forward and keeping their doors open post HITECH money. Since the HITECH funding is paying only for stage 1 assistance most of the money has been received by the Centers. Here are three Regional Extension Centers that are geographically neighbors that have a good story to tell.

The Illinois Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (IL-HITREC)

IL-HITREC is a collaboration of several healthcare and educational organizations all focusing on providing education, outreach and technical assistance to priority primary care providers. This Center services the entire state of Illinois except the city of Chicago. They are headquartered at Northern Illinois University but have satellite delivery offices in DeKalb, Chicago, Peoria and Sauget.

Roger L. Holloway is the Co-Director of the IL-HITREC. He reported in our interview that 60% of the providers they have assisted have achieved meaningful use. The Center is involved in so many areas right now and working on business models to continue financial security for the center. Adding more fee for services in privacy and security, working with the State HIE, patient centered medical homes, and state rural high-speed infrastructure.

The Chicago Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (CHITREC)

CHITREC is a collaboration between Northwestern University the Alliance of Chicago Community Health Services and many partners focusing on Health IT adoption. This Center services providers within the city of Chicago. There office is located on North Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.

Dr. Fred Rachman is the CEO of CHITREC. The Center has signed up 1480 Providers and more than 20% have achieved MU stage 1. He spoke about being part of and helping create a HIT community in Chicago. They have a successful Internship program and are moving forward developing pricing models to assist all providers. They are also looking to assist with the State Medicaid program.

The Wisconsin Health Information Technology Extension Center (WHITEC)

WHITEC is an independent and non profit organization led by MedStar. It focuses on providing technical assistance, guidance, and information on best practices to support and accelerate health IT adoption. This Center services providers throughout the entire state of Wisconsin.

Jessica Wang is the Project Director for WHITEC. Jessica refers the provider experience with their Center “The Quality Journey”. She reports that 50% of their providers have attested successfully to meaningful use. After market research assistance services will be extended to specialists. Privacy, security and risk analysis, and medical homes are all services that are being looked into to offer all providers.

Listen to all the RECs interviews from HIMSS on on the Conference Hour program page under the RECs at HIMSS13 tab.

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Category: EHR Adoption

About the Author ()

Roberta Mullin is Editor in Chief for HITECH Answers where she writes and reports on Federal initiatives in the health IT industry. She also contributes regularly to the 4Medapproved Daily News column.

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