Hospitals receive millions in grants to improve health IT efforts

Sixty-one hospitals and community health centers across Massachusetts will split $23 million in grants provided by MassHealth--and may of those facilities are getting funds to improve health IT.

The grants will help hospitals increase connections with Mass HIWay, the state-designated health information exchange. When applying for the grant, the organizations had to include details of how they would take advantage of the HIE. More than eight facilities were awarded grants solely for IT improvements. 

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced the grants, which also will be used to help hospitals adopt best practices, contain costs and create quality improvement strategies.

Anna Jacques Hospital in Newburyport received one of the largest grants for IT; it was allotted more than $1 million to use for Mass HIWay connection. Others received anywhere from $50,000 to upward of $700,000 to enhance data analytics and quality performance measurement capabilities or improve Mass HIWay connection.

"This year's new technology requirements will help place Massachusetts at the forefront of health care IT while driving down inefficiencies in care," state Secretary of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz said in a statement.

The grants awarded by MassHealth are part of a trend--investment in digital health topped $1.35 billion in the first quarter of this year, according to a StartUp Health report.

And the Bay State is not the only one doling out big bucks to boost its HIE. In March, the New York State legislature budgeted $55 million in state funding for SHIN-NY, the Statewide Health Information Network of New York.

To learn more:
- here's the MassHealth announcement
- check out the list of grants

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