Government // Leadership
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12/17/2009
01:44 PM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
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'Beacon' Communities Need Track Record For Feds' IT Funds

Communities will need a proven track record if they're looking to receive funding to become health IT "beacons" under a federal program to set up models of meaningful health information usage. Communities qualifying for inclusion in the program must demonstrate that they're already embracing e-health records an electronic health information sharing.

Communities will need a proven track record if they're looking to receive funding to become health IT "beacons" under a federal program to set up models of meaningful health information usage. Communities qualifying for inclusion in the program must demonstrate that they're already embracing e-health records an electronic health information sharing.The Obama administration said earlier this month it will offer 15 communities grants of up to $20 million to support healthcare IT for meaningful use projects, such as clinical decision support, according to Government Health IT.

To become a "beacon" community, applicants must have an established track record of using health IT to improve health care in at least one category -- cost efficiency, quality of care or population health, said Dr. Farzad Mostashari, senior advisor to the Office of the National Coordinator for health IT during a Dec. 14 teleconference.

ONC said it would like the program to get on a fast track. "We want to see what is possible in a relatively short time period, within 30 months," he said in giving more details of the grants, applications for which are due Feb. 1.

ONC wants to demonstrate that hospitals, clinicians and patients can act together as a community to achieve measurable improvements in healthcare quality, safety, efficiency and population health, Mostashari told Government Health IT.

But communities that win the funding need to have a proven track record implementing healthcare IT. "You must convincingly demonstrate that you're a community that with past success has a credible shot at showing future success," Mostashari said.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on e-health and the federal stimulus package. Download the report here (registration required).

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