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Rural Implementation Steps

Step 6: Quality Improvement and Optimization

This final phase refers to reassessing what you have learned from training and daily use of your electronic health record (EHR). It emphasizes continuous evaluation and improvement of the workflow of your organization’s goals and needs after EHR implementation.

In addition to continuous quality improvement, your organization should work to optimize meaningful use functions to further capture benefits of EHRs, such as the use of patient lists for patient engagement and outreach, developing new decision support rules for enhanced patient safety, and assessing information exchange use cases.  Additionally, by ensuring that your organization meets meaningful use Stage 1, you are well positioned to start preparations for Stage 2 meaningful use and other health reform initiatives.

Optimal use of Health IT, in the broad sense, includes the meaningful use of EHRs for patient centered medical homes, accountable care organizations, and other enhanced patient care initiatives.

Health IT equips us with needed data to offer higher quality and more coordinated care, which gives us the best opportunity to ultimately bend the cost curve in health care delivery.

Quality Improvement Resources

HRSA Health IT Adoption Toolkit (Quality Section)

A great resource for learning about quality improvement and performance measurement in healthcare. HRSA provides the answers to many FAQs related to quality improvement, including its relationship to HIT/EHRs.

Creative Solutions to Expand Iowa’s Rural Health IT Funding

Quality improvement and optimization may require new insights from external stakeholder groups. This case study will help you think about the kinds of stakeholders needed to facilitate EHR optimization, such as telecommunications companies and other providers in your region.


The following resources are examples of tools that are used in the field today, and are recommended by subject matter experts for the use by others who have made the commitment to implement or upgrade to certified EHR systems.

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Strategies for Optimizing an EHR System View

The material in these guides and tools represents the collective EHR implementation experiences and knowledge gained directly from the field of ONC’s outreach programs (REC, Beacon, State HIE) and through the Health Information Technology Research Center (HITRC) Communities of Practice (CoPs) in their performance of technical support and EHR implementation assistance to primary care providers. The information contained in these resources is not intended to serve as legal advice nor should it substitute for legal counsel. The resource list is not exhaustive, and readers are encouraged to seek additional detailed technical guidance to supplement the information contained herein.

Reference in this web site to any specific resources, tools, products, process, service, manufacturer, or company does not constitute its endorsement or recommendation by the U.S. Government or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.