Health Center News, Uncategorized

Staying Ahead of the Digital Curve

By Marisol Murphy Ballantyne

Unity Health Care, a health center in Washington, D.C. is being honored with the 2012 Healthcare Information and Managment Systems Society Nicholas E. Davies Award of Excellence. This prestigious award recognizes outstanding achievement in the implementation and utilization of health information technology (HIT).  According to the press release issued by Unity, funding from the Affordable Care Act, as well as private funds, have helped pave the way to EHR adoption for the health center.  Unity’s accomplishment has won notice from  HIMSS, which since 1994 has  recognized outstanding achievement in the implementation and value from health  information technology, specifically EHRs.  The Awards program promotes EHR adoption through sharing  information and lessons learned on implementation strategies, financial return  on investment and value of the EHR to improve patient care and outcomes.

For many health centers, EHR can pose a challenge.  Although many have high rates of EHR adoption, their progress towards meaningful use of those EHRs is more modest– only 9% are currently demonstrating meaningful use, according to a recent brief,  entitled, “Supporting Health Information Technology Adoption in Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC),”  released by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator (ONC).

In a NACHC survey  89 percent of health centers reported that lack of capital funding as a barrier to EHR adoption.