California REC reports increased demand for assistance

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Regional Extension Centers (RECs) were introduced by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act. Intended to assist healthcare providers in migrating to medical informatics systems, RECs across the country have been partly responsible for the increased adoption of clinical informatics technology in recent years. However, an REC in California has reported an unexpectedly high number of requests from providers across the state, reports Information Week.

More than 7,700 healthcare organizations have registered with the California Health Information Partnership and Services Organization (CalHIPSO), the largest REC in the country. This figure is significantly higher than the 6,200 care providers that were expected to join the program when it was launched two years ago.

Officials at CalHIPSO are also tasked with a significant challenge in achieving their goal of helping 6,200 of the care organizations registered with the initiative to meet the criteria established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ meaningful use incentive program. Currently, only 210 care organizations registered with CalHIPSO have managed to demonstrate meaningful use of clinical informatics systems.

Speranza Avram, chief executive officer of CalHIPSO, told the news source that additional pressure to comply with changes in regulatory policy is also contributing to the REC’s workload.

In an attempt to understand how RECs are changing the clinical landscape of the U.S., the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) recently launched its Health IT Dashboard, reports Healthcare IT News.

The ONC’s web-based data portal features a range of information on the effectiveness of various grants and federal funding initiatives including RECs, and provides a snapshot of how healthcare IT such as health information exchanges and medical informatics systems are revolutionizing healthcare in the U.S.

If you are interested in furthering your career in health informatics, consider enrolling in the online Master of Science in Health Informatics degree program with the University of Illinois at Chicago.