The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology are urging the new, ONC-designated network of regional extension centers to work with an established CHIME initiative.
CHIME and ONC report sending a letter to RECs around the country suggesting that the centers reach out to coordinators in the CHIME StateNet program. StateNet is a network of CIOs who are helping to coordinate health IT programs in each state, while the RECs are intended to aid physicians and small and rural hospitals in their conversion to EMRs.
"Together, hospitals and primary-care providers are challenged to be meaningful users of technology. Our mutual success depends on strengthening partnerships and building collaborative relationships," CHIME and ONC say.
"We appreciate the important role RECs will play in assisting providers in achieving meaningful use," says the letter, which was signed by national health IT coordinator Dr. David Blumenthal and CHIME President and CEO Richard Correll. "ONC and CHIME leadership believe hospitals have a key role in supporting the RECs to improve the quality and value of healthcare."
According to CHIME, the group is offering the RECs access to "experienced CIOs who have successfully implemented EHRs in their organizations." In a statement, Correll says, "StateNet is eager to work with RECs across the nation to improve the quality and value of healthcare in their regions. By working together, we can accomplish significant milestones toward building an electronically connected, information-driven system of care."
Meanwhile, ONC this week awarded two final REC grants, bringing the total number of extension centers to 62. The CalOptima Foundation received nearly $4.7 million to help providers in Orange County, Calif., while the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative won a $5.1 million grant to serve as the REC for the state of New Hampshire, according to ONC. The office also expanded the geographic coverage for two RECs in Florida, the Community Health Centers Alliance and Health Choice Network of Florida.
CHIME holds its annual CIO forum next week in Chandler, Ariz., and Fierce will be there to provide coverage.