The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has many health IT resources available for healthcare professionals interested in learning more about health information technology (IT). Below are some tools that will help support the process of implementing electronic health records (EHR). Each offers its own resources for health IT support and tips for EHR best practices.
Regional Extension Centers RECs
ONC has funded 62 Regional Extension Centers (RECs) to help more than 100,000 primary care providers adopt and use electronic health records (EHRs).
REC services include outreach and education, health IT support (such as working with vendors, or helping providers choose a certified EHR system), and technical assistance in implementing EHRs and using it in a meaningful way to improve care.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services CMS
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) authorizes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide incentive payments to eligible health care professionals and hospitals when they adopt, implement, upgrade, or meet meaningful use of certified electronic health record technology.
State HIE Cooperative Agreement Program
In February and March 2010, ONC granted 56 awards totaling $548 million to help states develop and advance resources to facilitate the exchange of health information among health care providers and hospitals within their jurisdictions, and to ultimately encourage and support information exchange across states. The program aims to ensure that every eligible health care provider has at least one option for health information exchange that meets the requirements of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, defined by CMS.
ONC supports the Beacon Community Program to help guide the way to a transformed health care system. This program will fund more than a dozen demonstration communities that have already made inroads into the adoption of health IT, including electronic health records and health information exchange. Beacon Communities will advance new, innovative ways to improve care coordination, improve the quality of care, and slow the growth of health care spending.
To help address this growing demand for health IT professionals, ONC has awarded %116 million in funding to the Health IT Workforce Development Program for health IT support. The goal is to train a new workforce of health IT professionals who will be ready to help providers implement electronic health records to improve health care quality, safety, and cost-effectiveness.