More than 4,000 Georgia docs have adopted EHRs, bringing REC to 100 percent of goal

In 2009, Morehouse School of Medicine was awarded a $21 million from ONC to be the only REC in Georgia to give primary care practices on-the-ground technical assistance.
By Bernie Monegain
10:58 AM
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In 2009, Morehouse School of Medicine was awarded a $21 million from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to become the only REC in Georgia to provide on-the-ground technical assistance for individual and small medical practices.

Remember ONC Regional Extension Centers? There were 62 of those federally-funded organizations, better known as RECs, created nationwide in 2009 with a mission of helping primary care physicians move from paper to digital systems.

In 2009, Morehouse School of Medicine was awarded a $21 million from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to become the only REC in Georgia to provide on-the-ground technical assistance for individual and small medical practices.

News out of Atlanta today is that the Georgia center, GA-HITEC, part of the National Center for Primary Care at Morehouse School of Medicine, is closing in on getting the job done. The Georgia REC has reached 100 percent of the eligible primary care providers in the state and 89 percent of its eligible critical access and rural hospitals have achieved Stage 1 meaningful use.

[Also: Most RECs plan to stay open for business]

Through the program, it has reached more than 4,000 eligible primary care physicians and 56 critical access and rural hospitals by employing a 10-Step Roadmap to meaningful use. Also, it has assisted members in receiving more than $80 million in incentive payments through the federal EHR incentive programs.

"Through our quest for Health IT interoperability we have provided the Georgia medical community increased patient engagement and improved quality health care through the use of technology," said Dominic Mack, MD, GA-HITEC's principal investigator and newly named director of the National Center for Primary Care at Morehouse School of Medicine, in a news release. He added that the work of the team would result in both better clinical outcomes and improved population health outcomes.

As the national REC program is slated to sunset in late 2016, GA-HITEC continues to develop activities in support of CMS' HIT initiatives, including Stage 2 and Stage 3 meaningful use, health information exchange, clinical practice transformation, along with other value-based reporting efforts.

And, GA-HITEC is not alone. Most RECs plan to stay open, according to the 2014 HIMSS Regional Extension Center Survey.

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com


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