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New Health Information Technology (HIT) Resource Targets Rural Health Providers

A new Health Information Technology Toolkit will serve as a pilot program for providing health information technology (HIT) resources to rural health care providers. The toolkit, developed by the Rural Assistance Center (RAC) and the National Rural Health Resource Center (The Center) is designed to help rural providers find resources for HIT, electronic health records (EHR), meaningful use and related topics. Funding for the toolkit is provided by the federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP). This toolkit was developed as a result of the President’s Rural Health Initiative, which identifies HIT as a priority. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius established the Rural HIT Taskforce to address challenges rural communities face in adopting HIT and achieving meaningful use. The taskforce offers ways to meet those challenges and show rural communities how to coordinate federal resources. The taskforce is co-chaired by HRSA Administrator Dr. Mary Wakefield and National Coordinator for HIT Dr. Farzad Mostashari.

Using the toolkit, rural communities will be able to address challenges in finding capital funding; provide support to community colleges to enhance training programs; stay informed about legislation affecting EHRs; and leverage multiple federal resources for project development. Toolkit resources provide guidance in the planning, setup, implementation, and operation of an HIT infrastructure. Additional resources provide information about locating training programs, funding support, management expertise, and the meaningful use program. Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

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