Evidence network lets Beacon communities share info in real time

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's Beacon communities--the 17 model entities across the U.S. that are using electronic medical records (EMRs) to improve various patient outcomes--soon will be able to document and share their results in real time via a new initiative.

The initiative--the Beacon Evidence and Innovation Network--combines the efforts of AcademyHealth, the Commonwealth Fund and ONC. Announced earlier this week, the organizations will assist the communities in "accelerating the identification, documentation and dissemination of the lessons and results of their individual efforts."

The network is designed to help the Beacon program fulfill one of its key missions under the HITECH Act: developing and disseminating best practices for adopting and using health IT to improve care quality and reduce costs. It will permit the Beacon communities to establish a knowledge base by expanding the yield of evidence from projects, reports Government Health IT. It also will join together leaders and experts on topics such reducing hospital readmissions, measuring provider performance using multiple data sources, and getting the most out of the use of EMRs in physician practices.

Issue briefs and case studies also will be developed to examine difficult policy and evaluation challenges, and to identify emerging but promising strategies and trends.

The Beacons will offer a "critical opportunity" to gather data on what works and what doesn't when building a health information infrastructure, said Farzad Mostashari, MD, the national health IT coordinator, in a statement.

For more information:
- see the AcademyHealth announcement
- read the Government Health IT article