HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced awards totaling $27.8 million to health center-controlled networks and large multi-site health centers to implement electronic health records (EHR) and other health information technology (HIT) innovations. The funds are part of the $2 billion allotted to HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to expand health care services to low-income and uninsured individuals through its health center program.
“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 Secretary Sebelius.
“These funds to expand and upgrade electronic health records systems will make a huge difference for health centers struggling to provide health care to the growing number of people in need,” said HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N.
“Broad use of health information technology has the potential to improve health care quality, prevent medical errors, and increase the efficiency of care provision,” added David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. “This program supports the Department’s overall efforts to assist physicians and hospitals in adopting and becoming meaningful users of health information technology.”
Eighteen grants totaling more than $22.6 million will support EHR implementation. Grants totaling more than $2.6 million will help four grantees implement a variety of HIT innovations, including the creation of health information exchanges among different providers and the incorporation of HIT at dental delivery sites. Another five grants totaling over $2.5 million will help health centers devise plans to use existing EHRs to improve patient health outcomes.
Read more about the release of HIT grants and the list of grants that were given on the HHS website.