ONC Beacon Communities Lead the Charge

Across the nation, in communities large and small, health information technology (health IT) innovators are boldly leading the way toward the adoption and meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs). Yesterday, we awarded $220 million in Beacon Community cooperative agreements to 15 trailblazing community consortiums that will demonstrate how the meaningful use of electronic health records can serve as a critical foundation for achieving measurable improvement in the quality and efficiency of health care in the United States.

Health care providers often suggest that health IT is challenging to implement, and that certain types of communities are better prepared (and funded) to reap its benefits.

The 15 Beacon Communities named today, however, demonstrate the significant diversity among those who have been successful in implementing and using health IT. The areas of diversity represented in the consortiums receiving grants include:

  • Geographic – Beacon Communities are located from coast to coast and beyond to Hawaii
  • Population Density – Beacon  Communities serve both urban and rural populations
  • Populations – Beacon programs address health disparities among minority populations, including Native American, African American, and Hispanic, among others

Equally important, these communities are committed to demonstrating tangible outcomes:

  • Individual Health Outcomes – Beacon Communities’ outcomes encompass a variety of disease states and treatment approaches, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Population Health outcomes – Beacon Communities target varying dimensions of population and public health, from improved immunization and cancer screening rates, to innovations for public health surveillance

Additionally, the Beacon Community Program demonstrates robust collaboration among Federal agencies.   Two of the grantees seek to improve Veterans’ care by leveraging the Department of Defense’s and Department of Veteran Affairs’ Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) program for active duty, Guard and Reserve, retired military personnel, and eligible separated Veterans.

These diverse partners will provide unique insights into best practices that can be applied to similar communities nationwide, as they strive to build a health IT infrastructure as a critical foundation for health system improvement. In doing so, the Beacon Community program will support the nationwide adoption of health IT by 2015.

I congratulate the Beacon Community awardees and am confident the Beacon Communities will succeed in demonstrating the promise of health IT and facilitating other communities’ adoption and meaningful use of technology.

–David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P. – National Coordinator for Health Information Technology


  1. Clarence Jordan says:

    Would you provide detail on where these communities are?

  2. Clarence Jordan says:

    What are the communities selected for the BEACON grant awards?

    • Mike Squires says:

      Here’s a short cut to ONC Beacon page and table:

      HHS Press Release with communities, amounts and population health goals:

      Meanwhile, here’s the list.
      Beacon Community Awardee and Funding Amount

      Community Services Council of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK $12,043,948

      Delta Health Alliance, Inc., Stoneville, MS $14,666,156

      Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, Brewer, ME $12,749,740

      Geisinger Clinic, Danville, PA $16,069,110

      HealthInsight, Salt Lake City, UT $15,790,181

      Indiana Health Information Exchange, INC., Indianapolis, IN $16,008,431

      Inland Northwest Health Services, Spokane, WA $15,702,479

      Louisiana Public Health Institute, New Orleans, LA $13,525,434

      Mayo Clinic Rochester, d/b/a Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN $12,284,770

      Rhode Island Quality Institute, Providence, RI $15,914,787

      Rocky Mountain Health Maintenance Organization, Grand Junction, CO $11,878,279

      Southern Piedmont Community Care Plan, Inc., Concord, NC $15,907,622

      The Regents of the University of California at San Diego, San Diego, CA $15,275,115

      University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI $16,091,390

      Western New York Clinical Information Exchange, Inc., Buffalo, NY $16,092,485

  3. Grand Rapids Web Design says:

    I hope selected communities deserve awards. It’s huge funding in this tough times…

  4. Abs says:

    2015 seems a long way off is funding in place for communities other than those mentioned?

  5. Abs says:

    Is the budget in place to expand the Beacon communities by 2015?

  6. jason says:

    I congratulate the Beacon Community awardees and am confident the Beacon Communities will succeed in demonstrating.Thanks for sharing information.

  7. Greg Wolverton says:

    As a rural area that did not get funded it would be great to see more funding to establish these “communities of practice”. Regardless of initial funding, we are proceeding with one of our own, although small in comparison to the urban centers, we are hoping to cover at least half of our state. Perhaps funding can be obtained afterward?

    Keep it coming!!!

  8. Jeff Mitchell says:

    This “Health care providers often suggest that health IT is challenging to implement” frustrates me. I can’t believe that there are people willing to stand in the way of progress because it makes their jobs more difficult or they have to learn something new.

  9. Internal communications says:

    This has to be the way to go for all health services, too many of which are struggling with antiquated, unreliable computer systems and/or entirely inefficient paper-based systems.

  10. Kansas City Web Design says:

    does anyone think that small portable electronics like the ipad will become common for a centralized medical information center?

  11. John Weaver says:

    I’d love to see them work with the Apple iPad to help increase their technology capabilities. As more devices become available it is very important for us to find new ways to help people while using them.

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