Publication Date: November 2013
In 2010 and 2011, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) awarded funds to 62 Regional Extension Centers (RECs) to assist eligible providers with adopting Electronic Health Records (EHR) and using them to improve patient care. Funding for the nationwide system of RECs was authorized by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009, which also authorized the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid incentive payment programs for providers who achieve “meaningful use” of EHRs.
This case study focuses specifically on the REC serving Minnesota and North Dakota (the Regional Extension Assistance Center for HIT, or REACH) and its experiences working with rural physician practices in the two states. It is intended to serve as a companion to our article in The Journal of Rural Health, which examined the national impact of the REC program and the role of the RECs in helping rural physician practices achieve “meaningful use” of EHRs. A second case study focuses on the REC serving North Carolina.