CMS to award grants for innovative healthcare IT projects

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced plans to award more than $1 billion in grants to private enterprises and healthcare IT entrepreneurs that demonstrate innovation in improving the quality of care for their patients, according to Information Week.

The funding will be dispersed as part of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and will range between $1 million and $30 million, depending on the scope of the project. Programs identified by the CMS as being of particular interest are the improvement of care and reduction in cost of what it refers to as “high opportunity” healthcare populations.

Although not solely restricted to healthcare IT products and initiatives, officials at the CMS expect that technology will play a pivotal role in many of the winning project submissions.

“[Healthcare] IT could be an important tool in projects that address some or all of the three-part goals of the innovation challenge grant initiative: better health, better healthcare and lower costs through improved quality,” a spokesperson for the CMS told the news source. “Whether we are improving the delivery of care to patients or creating infrastructure that will give providers and patients the ability to make real-time informed decisions about their care, health IT is likely to play a significant role in some proposals.”

One of the key objectives of the program is to reward participants who can rapidly deploy new healthcare solutions and improvement models within six months of being awarded funding. Interaction and collaboration with existing public and private healthcare IT vendors and providers is encouraged, according to the program’s official website.

Other major goals of the program include substantial cost reductions through improving and enhancing existing healthcare IT infrastructure, improvement of workforce development and redeployment scalability, and identifying projects that could be of significant benefit to patients enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

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