New ONC grants to boost data exchange, population health efforts

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT will award $38 million in grant funding to 20 entities to help boost the adoption of health information exchange technology, improve population health strategies and update training materials for use of health IT tools, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday.

The money will be dispersed across three, two-year cooperative agreement programs:

  1. Advance Interoperable Health Information Technology Services to Support Health Information Exchange
  2. The Community Health Peer Learning Program
  3. The Workforce Training Program

For the first program--geared toward expanding the adoption of data exchange technology, tools and services--ONC will award 12 "states or state-designated entities" with $29.6 million. Recipients include:

  • Arkansas Office of Health Information Technology
  • California Emergency Medical Services Authority
  • Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing
  • Delaware Health Information Network
  • Illinois Health Information Exchange Authority
  • Nebraska Department of Administrative Services
  • New Hampshire Health Information Organization Corporation
  • New Jersey Innovation Institute
  • Oregon Health Authority
  • Rhode Island Quality Institute
  • South Carolina Health Information Partners, Inc.
  • Utah Health Information Network

The second program will provide $2.2 million to AcademyHealth, a health services research organization, to help it identify best practices across 15 communities for population health management that include the use of data and technology.

Seven more entities--the University of Alabama at Birmingham; Bellevue (Washington) College; Columbia University; Johns Hopkins University; Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota; Oregon Health & Science University; and the University of Texas Health Science in Houston--will split the remaining $6.7 million to improve workforce training by updating old materials and ensuring "incumbent healthcare workers" are using health IT tools appropriately.

The funding announcement comes nearly six months after ONC awarded $36 million in grants for similar efforts.

"We have made great strides in the adoption and use of health IT," National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo said in a statement. "As we move beyond adoption to a learning health system where information is available when and where it matters most, it is important to ensure greater care coordination at the community level, and these grants provide resources to meet this goal."

The robust use of data and analytics tools already are helping population health management to transform the healthcare system, as FierceHealthIT examines in its latest special report.

To learn more:
- here's the announcement

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