Healthcare Technology Featured Article

January 03, 2013

HRSA Awards Oregon Community Health Information Network to Fund Tech Developments

The not-for-profit Oregon Community Health Information Network (OCHIN) Inc., has been granted $775,000 per year, to be distributed over three years, in order to help fund its healthcare technology goals.

The award is known as the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Bureau of Primary Health Care Health Center Controlled Network award, and is being issued by the federal government.

Abby Sears, OCHIN’s CEO, commented on the award, saying, “OCHIN got its start in 2000 with a HRSA grant and we are honored to continue the advancement of practice transformation in ways that support providers so that they can improve patient care.”

OCHIN must release a plan for the use of their funds within 90 days of receiving this award, and will also need to meet several qualifications set by the HRSA.

One such qualification is that OCHIN must help 37 of its 70 members meet meaningful use requirements to receive incentive payments (be they federal or state-provided).

Additionally, OCHIN has been tasked with improving its Epic EHR’s (Electronic Health Record) ability to document clinical quality measures, and achieve patient-centered home or relevant recognition. This includes documenting clinical quality measures for diabetes, hypertension, and Pap tests.

The main task OCHIN must focus on, however, is using the funds to support EHR installation for member health centers. OCHIN has 70 members, with 400 individual clinics throughout 14 states, so this is a tall order, and one OCHIN is dedicated to meeting.

OCHIN’s plans for the distribution and use of its funds, totaling $2,325,000 at the end of the three years, will be drawn out in the coming months with a distinct plan for each of its member centers.

These individual work plans will include completing two assessments: a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) self-assessment, and a comprehensive OCHIN network assessment. The plans will also include medication management, after-visit summaries, and operational workflow improvements, in order to help OCHIN achieve Meaningful Use (MU).

OCHIN will also reportedly fund an interactive website to virtualize some of its support efforts.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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