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AHRQ Health Information Technology Programs-Update 2005-06

Fact Sheet

In 2004 and in 2005, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) awarded grants and contracts to promote use of health information technology (health IT). Also in 2005, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched a pilot project to measure the impact of electronic prescribing data transmission systems on patient safety and quality of care.

The goals of these research projects are to:

  • Improve patient safety by reducing medical errors.
  • Increase health information sharing between providers, laboratories, pharmacies, and patients.
  • Help patients transition between health care settings.
  • Reduce duplicative and unnecessary testing.
  • Increase our knowledge and understanding of the clinical, safety, quality, financial, and organizational value and benefits of health IT. 

Contents

Background
Introduction
Transforming Healthcare Quality Through Health IT
State and Regional Demonstrations
E-Prescribing Projects
National Resource Center for Health IT
Projects Funded by State
Acronyms
For More Information

 

Background

In September 2004, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) awarded $139 million in contracts and grants to promote the use of health information technology (health IT) through the development of networks for sharing clinical data as well as projects for planning, implementing, and demonstrating the value of health IT.

Additional grants and State contracts in the amount of $27 million were awarded in September 2005, which will allow 16 of the original planning project grants to carry out the plans they developed in their earlier grants. Eleven of the 16 grants were awarded to small and rural communities—areas of special emphasis for AHRQ's health IT initiative.

Also in 2005, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched a pilot project to measure the impact of electronic prescribing data transmission systems on patient safety and quality of care.

The goals of these research projects are to:

  • Improve patient safety by reducing medical errors.
  • Increase health information sharing between providers, laboratories, pharmacies, and patients.
  • Help patients transition between health care settings.
  • Reduce duplicative and unnecessary testing.
  • Increase our knowledge and understanding of the clinical, safety, quality, financial, and organizational value and benefits of health IT.
  • Foster partnerships and collaboration, especially in small or rural areas.

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Introduction

In its 2001 report, Crossing the Quality Chasm, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) identified health IT as one of the most significant tools that could help improve healthcare quality in the United States. Further, the IOM, the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, and the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee also have recommended the development of a National Health Information Infrastructure to help improve safety, reduce costs, and enhance the quality of health care.

To accelerate progress on developing a national electronic health information system, in April 2004 President Bush announced the formation of the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology within the HHS. In September 2005, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt announced the creation of the American Health Information Community, chaired by the Secretary. The 17 members of this committee will advise HHS on how to transform the delivery of health care by building a new health information infrastructure, including electronic health records and a new network to link health records nationwide. The AHRQ grants and contracts are an integral part of the President's emphasis on investment in health IT that improves health care quality and safety.

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Transforming Healthcare Quality Through Health Information Technology

In 2004, AHRQ awarded over 100 grants totaling $96 million in 38 States to help communities, hospitals, providers, and health care systems plan, implement and demonstrate the value of health IT. Additional implementation grants totaling over $22 million were awarded in 2005. The planning grants supported the development of the health IT infrastructure and data sharing capacity among clinical provider organizations in their communities and helped those communities compete for future implementation grants. The implementation grants support community-wide health IT, with emphasis on diverse and rural health care settings. The grants to demonstrate the value of health IT focus on how the adoption and use of health IT can improve patient safety and quality of care. 

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State and Regional Demonstrations in Health Information Technology

In 2004, AHRQ awarded 5 State or State-based contracts totaling $25 million over 5 years to develop statewide networks allowing major purchasers of health care, public and private payers, hospitals, ambulatory care facilities, home health care providers, and long-term care providers to use health IT to communicate and share information. The five States are Colorado, Indiana, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Utah. In 2005, an additional State contract was awarded to Delaware and a regional contract was awarded to Calspan-UB Research Center (CUBRC) in Buffalo, New York, for a combined total of $5 million.

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E-Prescribing Pilot Projects

In addition, HHS has awarded nearly $6 million to four grantee teams, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA; Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA; SureScripts, Alexandria, VA; and Achieve Healthcare Information Technology, MN, as part of a pilot project to test initial standards for electronic prescribing. The project, which will run during calendar year 2006, involves testing several systems of electronic data transmission standards and determining how efficiently and effectively prescriptions and prescription-related information can be sent to and received by the providers and pharmacies participating in electronic prescribing for Medicare Part D beneficiaries. The project will be administered jointly by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and AHRQ.

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AHRQ National Resource Center for Health Information Technology

A consortium led by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago was awarded a multi-million dollar, multi-year contract to establish and operate the AHRQ National Resource Center for Health Information Technology (the National Resource Center). The National Resource Center supports the work of the health IT projects funded by AHRQ and other Federal partners, and provides direct technical assistance and consulting services to individual projects during all phases of their work to develop and use health IT. Particular focus is placed on providing services to support challenges facing health IT implementation in rural settings.

Research resulting from these contracts and grants should provide important information to the health care system on how health IT can be successfully implemented. The findings will estimate the direct and indirect costs, identify the benefits and barriers to health IT adoption, and demonstrate how health IT can lead to safer and better health for all Americans. For more information about AHRQ, the health IT program, and resources available through the National Resource Center, visit http://healthit.ahrq.gov.

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Projects Funded by State 

  AlaskaHawaiiNew MexicoArizonaCaliforniaOregonNevadaIdahoMontanaUtahWashingtonWyomingColoradoNebraskaOklahomaKansasCaliforniaNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaWisconsinWisconsinMissouriIllinoisIndianaMichiganOhioKentuckyTennesseeMississippiAlabamaFloridaGeorgiaSouth CarolinaNorth CarolinaWest VirginiaVirginiaDistrict of ColumbiaMarylandDelawareNew JerseyConnecticutRhode IslandMassachusettsPennsylvaniaNew YorkVermontNew HampshireMaineVermontMinnesotaTexasTexasTexasFloridaUtahGeorgiaNevadaIdahoTexasOklahomaMontanaVirginiaConnecticutMassachusettsDistrict of ColumbiaVirginiaNew JerseyDelawareRhode IslandMarylandNorth CarolinaLouisianaArizonaWest VirginiaMichiganNew YorkOhioSouth CarolinaMontanaNew HampshireMaineTexasNew York

Text links to State Information:

Alaska
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
New Hampshire
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Current as of February 2006
Internet Citation: AHRQ Health Information Technology Programs-Update 2005-06: Fact Sheet. February 2006. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/factsheets/it/hitfact/index.html