The Regional Extension Center (REC), a program of the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech (MeHI) has reached the key milestone of successfully helping 1,000 primary health care providers in the Commonwealth achieve Stage 1 Meaningful Use of electronic health records, making them eligible for federal incentive payments and paving the way for improved quality of care and lower costs.
“We’re delighted that MeHI has been able to help these providers reach Meaningful Use Stage 1,” said Pamela Goldberg, CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. “The adoption of electronic health record technology provides real benefits around quality of care, and also leverages valuable federal investment into our state’s health care community.”
Funded by the federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), MeHI is the Commonwealth’s designated Regional Extension Center. The REC offers programs and services to help health care providers adopt and meaningfully use electronic health record technology.
Meaningful Use is the set of standards defined by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Incentive Programs which govern the use of electronic health record technology. Meaningful Use allows eligible providers and hospitals to earn incentive payments by meeting specific criteria. Meaningful Use Stage 1 criteria include electronically capturing health information in a standardized format, using that information to track key clinical conditions and using information to engage patients and their families in their care.
To date, MeHI has helped bring 1,016 providers up to Meaningful Use standards, and has distributed more than $6.3 million in federal Direct Assistance grant funds to providers to assist in adoption of electronic health record technology. This funding and support has helped REC providers receive more than $18 million in federal Meaningful Use incentive payments.
“Adoption and meaningful use of electronic health records is critical to containing costs and improving quality of care,” said Laurance Stuntz, Director of the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech. “MeHI assists and supports the health care community with implementing this important technology.”
“Adoption of electronic health records is important, but the implementation process isn’t always simple or easy in a busy practice,” said Harveen Singh, M.D., a Family Medicine Physician in Framingham. “We’re glad for the opportunity to access MeHI’s assistance as we implement health information technologies which help us deliver exceptional care for our patients.”
Direct assistance funding is still available for Massachusetts providers. To learn more about the Regional Extension Center and the resources it provides, health care organizations can participate in an online information session on May 8, or call 617-371-3999. MeHI is also assisting providers with connection to the Mass HIway, the statewide health information exchange, as providers make progress toward Stage 2 of Meaningful Use in 2014. To learn more please visit www.mehi.masstech.org.
About the Massachusetts eHealth Institute
The Massachusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI) at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative is the state's entity for health care innovation, technology, and competitiveness and is responsible for advancing the dissemination of health information technology throughout Massachusetts, including the deployment of electronic health records systems in all health care provider settings and connecting them through the statewide health information exchange. For more information, please visit mehi.masstech.org and follow @MassEHealth.