Saturday, 13 April 2013

CHITREC to Help Improve Health Care in Underserved Communities

CHITREC to Help Improve Health Care in Underserved Communities, Heartland Health Outreach (HHO), a leader in coordinated care, has secured funds from the Illinois Office of Health Information Technology (OHIT) as part of the White Space Grant Program to work with the Chicago Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (CHITREC) and the Alliance of Community Health Services.

This grant, announced by Gov. Quinn in December 2012, will support more than 1,600 individual providers in underserved Chicago communities to enable their electronic health records (EHRs) to exchange information with other providers.

CHITREC, HHO, and the Alliance are working to address the technical and financial needs of small practices, “white space areas,” and community health centers by connecting each entity to the state health information exchange (HIE). The term “white space” is defined as healthcare providers practicing in areas currently underserved by health IT infrastructure. These areas include practices with 10 or fewer physicians and community health centers, just to name a few.

Fred Rachman, MD, CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Services and co-executive director of CHITREC, says Heartland and other Alliance partners such as Near North Health Service Corporation are early adopters of EHRs. “Health centers such as these continuously seek opportunities to advance efforts in leveraging health IT, and look forward to benefiting from the White Space Grant Program,” he says.

Yes, this grant program is just the support all health care providers need to begin the process of accessing and securely sharing patient information electronically. This would impact the quality of health care in our underserved communities by improving speed, quality, safety, and costs of patient care.

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