HHS makes final picks for regional health IT help centers
Feds also help to fund training of 50,000 health IT workers
Computerworld - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has selected the final two of 62 regional extension centers (REC), which will help small, rural hospitals and private physicians with the nationwide rollout of electronic medical records (EMR) systems.
The last two centers to receive part of $677 million in grant money through the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) are the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, which received $5.1 million, and the CalOptima Foundation, which received $4.7 million. CalOptima covers Orange County, Calif., and the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative covers the Bay State and New Hampshire.
RECs were created last year under the Health Information Technology Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. The centers will provide training and technical assistance in rolling out IT in order to achieve "meaningful use" of those systems under a set of government guidelines. Each REC will have 10 to 30 workers, depending on the size of the region it is expected to assist.
Positions at RECs include a director, a program manager, a network data manager, a marketing manager, a program assistant, four to six EMR implementation specialists, three or four quality improvement employees and five outreach workers.
"Conversion from paper to electronic health records is a challenging task for any provider, and we believe that help from the RECs will make an important difference, especially in assisting doctors in smaller practices and the smaller and rural hospitals," said Dr. David Blumenthal, national coordinator for health IT.
The ONC has also distributed $144 million in grant money for training programs at more than 80 colleges nationwide to train workers to man RECs and to buttress the IT workforce with health IT experience.
The HHS estimates that 50,000 trainees will be required in addition to people already being trained in IT programs at U.S. universities, according to Dr. Charles Friedman, the ONC's chief scientific officer.
On average, each school has or will receive about $1 million to implement the curriculum, and many of the schools have banded together into five regional consortia. Students graduating from the HITECH-funded programs will receive certificates in their specialties.
While thousands of graduates of HITECH grant-funded courses will staff REC offices throughout the country, the overwhelming majority of them will find jobs in the private sector, working at hospitals, private physician practices, long-term care facilities and other clinical operations.
"The selection of these final awardees means that regional extension centers are now in place in every region of our country to help health providers make the switch from paper-based medical practice to electronic health records," Blumenthal said.
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Read more about Healthcare IT in Computerworld's Healthcare IT Topic Center.
- Google I/O 2013's Coolest Products and Services
- 10 Star Trek Technologies That are Almost Here
- 19 Generations of Computer Programmers
- 25 Must-Have Technologies for SMBs
- A walking tour: 33 questions to ask about your company's security
- 15 social media scams
- The 7 elements of a successful security awareness program
With the promise of big data (solving the unsolvable problems, informing better decision making, creating new products and services, discovering patterns and acting on them, etc.) on the horizon, what has really changed? Does this mean that everything we know and do with not-so-big data should be tossed?
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Case Study: Hospital Turns to Email Archiving Solution to Ensure Regulatory Compliances
- Read this case study to learn how a cloud-based email archiving solution enabled the hospital to meet government mandates and helps avoid thousands...
- Case Study: In-the-Cloud Email Service Replaces Three Point Products
- Read this case study for more information on a comprehensive in-the-cloud email service to help replace three point products.
- Case Study: Simplifying the Transition to Exchange 2010 with Email Management Solutions
- Read this case study to learn how a cloud-based email management solution greatly simplified the company's transition to Exchange 2010.
- Intelligent Systems: A Prescription for Health Care Transformation
- Facing an onslaught of regulatory changes and market pressures, health care providers are grappling with how to transform existing services as part of...
- The Importance of Network Time Synchronization
- Your network is time stamping files, email, transactions, etc., while your server logs are recording the transactions in case you need that information.... All Healthcare IT White Papers
- Becoming An Analytics Driven Organization
- Join us on Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT and learn how your agency can create an analytics culture that will enable...
- 3 Reasons Why Sepaton is the World's Fastest Backup Solution
- Leading analyst, Storage Switzerland learns how Sepaton backs up and deduplicates massive data volumes while maintaining the industry's fastest performance - all in...
- Enterprise File Sharing: All You Need to Know
- Security. Scalability. Control. These are just some of the many benefits of enterprise cloud file-sharing that you'll discover in this KnowledgeVault, packed with...
- Bridging HTTP and FTP with FileXpress Internet Server
- What if you could take an FTP server on your internal network, and allow external users (partners or customers) to securely access it...
- MFT and FileXpress - An Overview
- Business users and applications exchange files on a regular basis. File transfer is a core part of the flow of business activity. All Healthcare IT Webcasts