The Beacon Communities’ Experience Investing in Health IT and Innovation to Improve Population Health

Janhavi Kirtane Fritz and Susan Hunt | December 19, 2013

The 17 ONC-funded Beacon Communities have learned a few things while on the front lines of the health IT revolution, and they want to share those successes and challenges to help others across the country move toward interoperability.  After three years of building health IT infrastructure to ensure interoperability, driving population health improvement and testing a variety of innovations, their hard-won knowledge illuminates what works, what doesn’t and why – at the community level and the clinical practice level.   Battle scars and victories, lessons learned along the way, tools developed to succeed, and stories of lives transformed through their programs are shared in six new Learning Guides that help providers move toward interoperability:

  1. Improving Hospital Transitions and Care Coordination Using Automated Admission, Discharge and Transfer Alerts [PDF – 2.1 MB].
  2. Strengthening Care Management with Health Information Technology [PDF – 2.3 MB].
  3. Capturing High Quality Electronic Health Records Data to Support Performance Improvement [PDF – 2.3 MB].
  4. Enabling Health Information Exchange to Support Community Goals [PDF – 2.1 MB].
  5. Driving Clinical Transformation in a Practice Setting with Health Information Technology [PDF – 4.1 MB].
  6. Building Technology Capabilities for Population Health Measurement at the Community Level [PDF – 2.0 MB].

From advancing EHR-based quality reporting and population health data analytics, to building community will and patient engagement, and to choosing leadership and clinical practice workflows, the Guides offer both strategy and tactics that are actionable by other communities and care organizations – community health collaborations, Regional Extension Centers, clinical practices, health information exchanges, health systems, hospitals, public health, and others.  Many of these guides also include lessons and templates from other ONC Program, including the REC program and the State HIE program, as well as other pioneering communities.  Our thanks goes out to each of our Beacon Nation partners across the country who took the time to reflect and share their stories.

The Beacon Learning Guides were developed as part of the Beacon Nation Project, launched in collaboration with the Hawai‘i Island Beacon Community (HIBC). The project was initiated to accelerate health IT adoption and promising uses of technology by disseminating lessons from the 17 ONC-funded Beacon Communities.  As you press forward on your journey of IT-enabled improvement and innovation, we hope that these Guides will be of service to you and your community.