ONC gives $38M for health data exchange

HITECH Act still has steam
By Mike Miliard
09:28 AM

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT is disbursing about $38 million in grants to 20 organizations, working to drive better information exchange for care coordination and population health.

The grants build on programs funded 2009 HITECH Act, and aim to help health data be more widely exchanged among providers, vendors and consumers.

"We have made great strides in the adoption and use of health IT," said National Coordinator for Health IT, Karen DeSalvo, MD, in a statement. "As we move beyond adoption to a learning health system where information is available when and where it matters most, it is important to ensure greater care coordination at the community level, and these grants provide resources to meet this goal."

The money will go to three programs. The largest, Advance Interoperable Health Information Technology Services to Support Health Information Exchange, is a two-year cooperative with $29.6 million to support a dozen states and state designated entities to expand HIE technologies across "organizational, vendor, and geographic boundaries."

The organizations participating in the program:

  • Arkansas Office of Health Information Technology
  • California Emergency Medical Services Authority
  • Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing
  • Delaware Health Information Network
  • Illinois Health Information Exchange Authority
  • Nebraska Department of Administrative Services
  • New Hampshire Health Information Organization Corporation
  • New Jersey Innovation Institute
  • Oregon Health Authority
  • Rhode Island Quality Institute
  • South Carolina Health Information Partners, Inc.
  • Utah Health Information Network

The Workforce Training Program, meanwhile, has awarded seven grantees $6.7 million to update training materials from the original Workforce Curriculum Development program funded under HITECH. The aim here is to train incumbent healthcare workers to use health IT in team-based care environments, long-term care facilities, patient-centered medical homes, accountable care organizations, hospitals and clinics. The organizations focusing on population health and value-based care coordination here include:

  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Bellevue College, Bellevue, Washington
  • Columbia University, New York City, New York
  • Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Normandale Community College, Bloomington, Minnesota
  • Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon
  • The University of Texas Health Science (Houston)

Finally, the Community Health Peer Learning Program is a two-year cooperative, funded to the tune of $2.2 million, where AcademyHealth will work with 15 communities around population health strategies. Those communities participating will be required to identify data solutions, accelerate local progress, disseminate best practices and learning guides, and help inform national strategy around population health challenges, according to ONC.