Grant supports EHRs in HIV/AIDS initiative to highlight meaningful use

By Bernie Monegain
09:12 AM

The Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. will use a $2.8 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services to create an electronic system to boost the care of women of color with HIV/AIDS.

S. Vincent Grasso, DO, a member of the Stevens Healthcare Information Technology Management Advisory Board and seminar leader for the Stevens Healthcare Educational Partnership, will act as technical lead, solution provider and systems integrator for the project, which will be implemented in urban centers across the country.

The principal investigator for the grant is Arthur E. Blank, associate professor in the Departments of Family and Social Medicine and Epidemiology and Population Health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center in New York.

"It is a great privilege to work with researchers such as Dr. Blank and others at Einstein/Montefiore on this grant," said Grasso.

"Despite the benefits that advanced healthcare IT is delivering to many organizations, HIV/AIDS clinics around the world that treat the medically and economically disadvantaged possess technically related requirements that are currently not fully met," Grasso said.

"Widespread implementation of electronic health records is recognized as a crucial step toward IT-enabled healthcare reform," said Carol V. Brown, a professor and director of Stevens' healthcare IT management graduate program. "However, what is not yet widely recognized is that the Obama funds will be disbursed to healthcare providers who can demonstrate meaningful use of electronic health records – not just adoption. Both hospitals and physician practices will need to invest in HIT education to achieve this goal."

Brown's program advisory board members include CIOs at New Jersey hospitals.

The HIV/AIDS initiative is of particular importance, Grasso said, based on recent HIV data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the August 2008 report:

* Women account for 26 percent of the estimated 37,163 diagnoses for adults and adolescents.
* Of the 126,964 women living with HIV/AIDS, 64 percent are black, 19 percent are white, 15 percent are Hispanic, 1 percent are Asian or Pacific Islander, and less than 1 percent are American Indian or Alaska Native.
* The rate of AIDS diagnosis for black women (45.5 in every 100,000 women) is approximately 23 times the rate for white women (2 in every 100,000) and four times the rate for Hispanic women (11.2 in every 100,000).
* An estimated 95,959 women are living with AIDS, representing 23 percent of the estimated 421,873 people living with AIDS in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.