Health Information Management

Recovery Act funds released for EHR implementation

HIM-HIPAA Insider, October 6, 2009

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The government released $27.8 million September 29 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to community health centers for the expanded use of health information technology (HIT) and EHR system implementation.

According to a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) press release, 18 grants totaling $22.6 million will aid in EHR implementation, while $2.6 million will help four grantees implement various HIT improvements. These grantees will be able to create health information exchanges between providers and incorporate HIT at dental delivery sites.

“The increased use of health information technology is a key focus of our reform efforts because it will help to improve the safety and quality of health care generally while also cutting waste out of the system,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

EHR implementation will help these centers keep better track of their patient’s care, says Margret Amatayakul, RHIA, CHPS, CPHIT, CPEHR, FHIMSS, president of Margret/A Consulting.

Many of these centers are large, multi-site networks, and many of their patients do not have a “medical home,” Amatayakul says. “If someone lands in one place for one visit, then a different location for the next—this will help these centers keep track of what’s going on with that patient.”

This includes keeping track of patient drug information, preventing over-medicating,she added.



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