CHIME and ONC offer support to RECs
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), alongside the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), has sent a joint letter to Regional Extension Center (REC) project officers nationwide, pledging assistance in achieving an electronically enabled healthcare system.
The letter encourages RECs to align themselves with CHIME StateNet Coordinators to realize their health information technology initiatives and help providers in their geographic service areas select, successfully implement, and meaningfully use certified electronic health record technology.
StateNet is a 50-state network of CIOs created by CHIME to facilitate the sharing of best practices and strategies to assist information exchange development and state-level cooperation. CHIME StateNet Coordinators are experienced CIOs who have stepped forward to coordinate HIT initiatives in their state, including the adoption of EHRs by providers and regional and statewide health information exchange.
"Together, hospitals and primary care providers are challenged to be meaningful users of technology," said the letter, signed by Richard Correll, president and CEO of CHIME, and David Blumenthal, MD, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. "Our mutual success depends on strengthening partnerships and building collaborative relationships.
"We appreciate the important role RECs will play in assisting providers in achieving meaningful use," Correll and Blumenthal wrote. "ONC and CHIME leadership believe hospitals have a key role in supporting the RECs to improve the quality and value of healthcare."
The letter offers to connect RECs with experienced CIOs in their state who have successfully implemented EHRs in their organizations – and will be able to offer lessons about managing vendor relations, optimizing workflows, implementing privacy and security policies to comply with regulatory requirements, and engaging important stakeholders in the process.
"StateNet is eager to work with RECs across the nation to improve the quality and value of healthcare in their regions," Correll said. "By working together, we can accomplish significant milestones towards building an electronically connected, information-driven system of care."
Mandated under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, regional extension centers provide educational and technical assistance to providers to adopt or enhance EHR systems. On-site technical assistance is a key service offered by RECs to priority primary-care providers, representing a significant portion of the REC’s activities. RECs work with providers who have not yet adopted EHR systems, and with those who have existing EHR systems, to assist them in achieving meaningful use.