Health Information Technology Regional Center Awarded in Maryland

BALTIMORE, April 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology have announced that the Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients, or CRISP, will serve as the health information technology Regional Extension Center for the state of Maryland. The Regional Extension Center is being funded with a grant of $5.5 million over four years, after which the program will be self-sustaining.

By helping primary care providers implement electronic health records (EHRs), the center will bring the benefits of health information technology—such as improved care coordination, a reduction in medical errors and fewer adverse drug reactions—to patients throughout Maryland. The center's mission aligns with the state's goal of using health information technology to create a more efficient, effective, and patient-centric healthcare delivery system.

Already, hundreds of healthcare providers from the Eastern Shore to Garrett County have expressed interest in working with the newly-announced Regional Extension Center in order to move to electronic recordkeeping, share clinical data to improve care coordination and care quality, and become eligible for federal incentive payments through Medicare and Medicaid. In order to receive incentives, physicians must become "meaningful users" of certified EHRs, as defined by the federal government.

CRISP is a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to provide safer, more timely, efficient, effective, equitable, patient-centered health care to all Marylanders through health information technology. With support from a broad coalition of stakeholders in the state's government, healthcare and technology sectors, CRISP is currently in the process of implementing the statewide health information exchange. CRISP has previously been funded through the state's unique all-payor rate setting system and other federal investment.

“The Regional Extension Center will assist physicians with decisions related to selecting and implementing EHRs, managing the change that comes with new technologies, and enabling health information exchange and reporting of quality measures—all of which are milestones on the road to 'meaningful use,'" said David Horrocks, the president of CRISP.

Currently, according to the Maryland Health Care Commission, around 18% of Maryland physicians use some form of electronic records. CRISP intends to work closely with MedChi, the state's medical society, to maximize the program's benefit to Maryland physicians.

CRISP will also partner with accredited Maryland-based small businesses and non-profits, each with demonstrated expertise in EHR implementation, to provide the critical customized advice and on-the-ground implementation services to physician practices. These partners will commit to the Regional Extension Center's stringent best practices and the highest level of service in order to ensure that each participating practice is well positioned to benefit from the nationwide transition to EHRs.

“We are excited to bring Maryland to the forefront of states in using electronic medical records,” said Gene Ransom, chief executive officer of MedChi. “Every physician, from one working a large specialty practice to another in a solo office, deserves to receive the financial and clinical benefits of health IT.”

The Regional Extension Center will work on a priority basis with primary care providers such as family practices, internal medicine practices, OB/gyn, pediatric practices, federally qualified health clinics and others focused on the needs of rural and underserved communities. Other providers, including specialists, will also be offered assistance through the center.

Upon commencing operation of the Regional Extension Center program, CRISP will work with more than 1,000 providers in its first year alone. For more information, please visit www.crisphealth.org.

SOURCE Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients

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