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Community Health Centers Continue to Embrace EHRs

August 22, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Ninety-six percent of federally-funded health centers have an electronic health record (EHR) in use at some or all sites, and 84.5 percent reported that their providers are receiving meaningful use payments, according to new data from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Additionally, more than 54 percent of centers achieved recognition as patient centered medical homes (PCMHs). Community health centers are the largest providers of healthcare to underserved individuals in the U.S. and in many communities are at the forefront of health IT innovation, Michael A Wittie of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and Kerry Souza, an epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, write in a Health IT Buzz blog post that highlighted the findings. “Health centers have long worked to improve the quality and efficiency of the care they provide, and have adopted health IT as a tool to facilitate that improvement,” Wittie and Souza said.
 
The centers provided care to more than 21.7 million patients (more than 62 percent of whom are racial/ethnic minorities, and almost 35 percent of whom are uninsured) in 2013. Further, health centers are not just using health IT, they are using it as part of clinical transformation, Souza and Wittie write. “Community health centers across the country are also using EHRs to capture and use patient work information to learn more about their patients’ work and health.”
 
“Even before these data are routinely available in EHRs, health centers will undoubtedly continue to lead the way in bridging occupational health and primary care, and in using EHRs to help meet their patients’ needs,” the blog post says.

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