More than 100,000 primary-care providers are now served by regional extension centers and are working with the centers to participate in federal electronic health-record system incentive programs, HHS announced Thursday.
More than 100,000 providers working with regional extension centers: HHS
Dr. Farzad Mostashari, head of HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, shared the news at an ONC grantee and stakeholder summit in Washington.
"We had set a goal of 100,000 primary-care providers served," Mostashari said. "That was a reach." But health IT has been "absolutely transformed" in the past two-and-a-half years, he said, and now 70% of rural primary-care providers are working with one of the 62 regional extension centers nationwide.
The centers offer technical assistance as well as general guidance and best-practices information to support providers' efforts to meet EHR meaningful-use requirements and qualify for federal health IT incentive payments. Primary-care providers and those serving traditionally medically underserved populations are a particular focus for the centers, which number 62 nationwide; half of the 100,000 providers working with the centers on EHR adoption are in small group practices or consortia of small practices, according to an HHS news release. More than one in five (21%) is in an underserved setting such as a critical-access hospital or a rural health clinic.
The centers "are playing an integral role in helping providers on the path to EHR adoption," Mostashari said in the release. "This compelling milestone demonstrates strong interest in adoption and meaningful use among community health centers, small practices and rural providers that can lead to improvements in health and healthcare."
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