April 25, 2017

Health IT

HIT pledge ACU believes that health information technology (health IT) is a vital tool in achieving the goals of health care reform to increase health care access, improve care delivery systems, engage in culturally competent outreach and education, and enhance workforce development and training.

An electronic health record that includes documentation of demographics, including race and ethnicity, risk factor assessments, and evidence based preventive and chronic disease management decision support, enables clinicians to manage more effectively the complex health care needs of vulnerable populations. Electronic health records can assist in promoting patient self-management and self-empowerment through available cultural and linguistically appropriate patient information, improved communication with clinical staff, and support outreach efforts which lead to improved health outcomes and reduction in health disparities.

ACU works with the National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved to ensure that health systems serving vulnerable populations do not lag behind as health information technologies are developed and implemented. The vision for this collaborative is an interconnected public and private health system where all consumers have access to high quality, affordable care and to the information and technology resources required to maximize their health care services. The Health IT Collaborative has engaged more than 100 partners who are committed to one of four workgroups: Education and Outreach, Workforce Training, Advocacy and Policy, and Finance and Sustainability.

ACU Webinar on Meaningful Use available

A 90-minute webinar on Demystifying Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records, co-presented by ACU and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, is available online for anyone who missed the original broadcast. The goals of the webinar are to provide an overview of the Meaningful Use (MU) of certified Electronic Health Record technology as a means of supporting quality, safety, and efficiency in health care while reducing health disparities. Presenters included a clinician user, an industry expert, and a Federal representative of the Office of Health IT Adoption. Also provided are links to many federal and local resources to support EHR adoption.

Resources

The latest on EHR inentive programs

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has a new listserv about the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs. The listserv provides timely, authoritative information about the programs, including registration and incentive payments, Meaningful use criteria and updates, and details about the payment process.

A Health IT Blog We Like

Health IT Buzz is a new blog about health information technology (health IT). Why do we like it? Anna Gard, FNP-BC, ACU’s consultant on health IT issues says, The best part of the blog is that it presents a vast and varied field of respondents from small rural practices, to FQHC’s to health care consultants and educators.”

ACU Columns*

Health Information Technology: Addressing Health Disparity by Improving Quality, Increasing Access, and Developing Workforce Ricardo Custodio, MD, MPH, Anna M. Gard, MSN, FNP-BC, Garth Graham, MD, MPH

Where to Learn More

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) – the healthcare industry’s membership organization exclusively focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of healthcare information technology (IT) and management systems for the betterment of healthcare. The website resources include topics and tools, professional development opportunities including the online e-learning academy, and Health IT news releases.

AHRQ National Resource Center for Health IT – provides information on IT tools, knowledge library, funding opportunities, technical assistance and event calendar.

HRSA Health IT Adoption Toolbox – designed for health centers as well as other safety net and ambulatory care providers; organized by stages of considering, planning, executing, and evaluating the implementation of health IT. Includes publicly available resources as well as resources developed by HRSA explicitly for this Toolbox.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) website spotlights policy, funding opportunities, standards and certifications, and tools for implementation and optimization of health IT.

The RCHN Community Health Foundation (RCHN CHF) – a not-for-profit operating foundation whose mission is devoted exclusively to support and benefit the work of community health centers (CHCs) nationally. This website includes Technology in Focus, a collection of columns addressing the unique issues of Health IT specific to CHCs.

Photo courtesy of National Institutes of Health

*Reprinted with permission from Meharry Medical College, the copyright holder for the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.