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Regional Extension Centers (RECs)

REC Support for Patient Centered Health IT and Patient Engagement

New Service Lines Connect Providers with Patient-Centered Health

As part of National Health IT Week (September 16 - 20, 2013), the U.S. Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) launched a new patient-centered service line to help providers across the country adopt and implement new patient and family engagement tools strategies and tools.

This service line will be offered by many of ONC’s 62 Regional Extension Centers (RECs), which currently work with 43% of all U.S. primary care providers. Now, REC resources and tools will be available to all providers interested in implementing and optimizing patient-centered health IT not just those who have been eligible for their services in the past.

RECs have a close working relationship with their providers, are well aware of provider pain points, and have structured their service offerings around those challenges. These services can help your practice optimize the use of your EHR to meet meaningful use stage 2 with a special focus on patient and family engagement-related services and include everything from implementing a patient portal and online scheduling to consulting services to help you improve your CAHPS (consumer assessment of healthcare providers and Systems)

Some of the first RECs to offer patient-centered service line include M-CEITA in Michigan and Telligen in Iowa.  Additional RECs will launch this service line later this fall.

What do providers need to know about regional extension centers and patient and family engagement?

  1. Millions of patients are already seeing the benefits of patient-centered health IT and have a high interest in online services.
  2. Patient engagement is foundational for many of the new care deliver models like Patient Centered Medical Homes and new payment models like Accountable Care Organization.
  3. Providers who implement patient and family engagement can offer higher quality care and help patients achieve better health outcomes
  4. E-health tools like online scheduling, web portals, secure email can ultimately lead to a lowered administrative burden for staff, freeing up resources to focus on patient care.
  5. Regional Extension Centers are uniquely positioned to work with providers to implement world-class patient-engagement strategies, tools and techniques.

Contact your local REC and take advantage of the new patient-centered Health IT services

Find a REC near you and learn how you can improve care and increase patient satisfaction by implementing and optimizing patient and family engagement efforts.