HHS awards $17.5 million to expand electronic medical record use

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The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded three contracts valued at $17.5 million to three private groups to broaden the use of electronic medical records. Long-term care is one of the provider classes that is being urged to adopt more sophisticated electronic systems.

The department gave $3.3 million to the American National Standards Institute to develop software standards; $2.7 million to the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology to develop standards for the certification of EHR products; and $11.5 million to the Health Information Security and Privacy Collaboration to establish healthcare privacy regulations.

Also, the HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality awarded more than $22.3 million to 16 providers to implement healthcare IT systems. The recipients include 11 organizations from small and rural communities.

The cost of installation and maintenance of healthcare IT systems represents the main barrier to implementation of such systems at small and rural healthcare facilities, according to a survey released last week by the American Hospital Association.