HHS, Emdeon partnership provides EHRs to underserved areas

Electronic health record vendor Emdeon and the Department of Health & Human Services' Office of Minority Health have launched an initiative wherein the latter will donate EHR software and services to physicians in small practices in underserved communities in New Jersey. The program is intended to reduce health disparities affecting minorities, according to a joint announcement this week.

Emdeon will provide 100 EHR systems and their service subscriptions free to participating physicians for 12 months. To take part in this initiative, a provider must meet the following criteria:

  • Practice in a Medically Underserved Area (MUA) or Health Provider Shortage Area (HPSA) designated by HHS;
  • Have an Internet connection and use an electronic billing system;
  • Be a small practice group of one to five providers or a Federally Qualified Health Center within the MUA and/or PSA;
  • Be eligible to receive the Meaningful Use incentives bonus;
  • Complete an application and submit monthly reports.

"The Office of Minority Health is pleased to support this effort to show how electronic health records can be used by providers who practice in underserved communities," Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health J. Nadine Gracia said in a statement. "We...hope this initiative will stimulate more efforts to extend the use of EHRs, especially in smaller practices within underserved communities that face special challenges in acquiring or implementing this technology."

Other entities participating in the program include the HIMSS Latino Community and New Jersey's regional extension center, known as the Health Information Technology Extension Center (NJ-HITEC).

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- check out this Health Data Management article

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