US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced awards to help states facilitate health information exchange and advance health information technology (health IT).
Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, today’s awards are part of the $2 billion effort to achieve widespread meaningful use of health IT and provide use of an electronic health record by every citizen by the year 2014. Every state and eligible territory has now been awarded funds under this program.
“These critical investments will help unleash the power of health information technology to cut costs, eliminate paperwork, and help doctors deliver high-quality, coordinated care to patients,” said Secretary Sebelius. “States are important partners in improving and expanding our electronic health records system. By improving the secure exchange of electronic health records between providers and hospitals within and across states, these awards mark a significant step in bringing our health system into the 21st century.”
The health information exchange HIE awards announced today provide approximately $162 million to 16 states and qualified state designated entities (SDEs) to facilitate non-proprietary health information exchange that adheres to national standards. Health information exchange is critical to enabling care coordination and improving the quality and efficiency of health care.
“Today’s announcement of awards to 16 states and SDEs marks a significant milestone with all states now empowered to start their journey towards identifying innovative ways to break down theses barriers that prevent the seamless exchange of information, so that we can give patients the access to care they deserve and expect,” stated Dr David Blumenthal, national coordinator for health information technology. “States play a critical leadership role in advancing the development of the exchange capacity of healthcare providers and hospitals within their states and across the nation. Health information exchange will enable eligible healthcare providers to be deemed meaningful users of health IT and receive incentive payments under the Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive program.”