Earlier this month, the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology announced it had awarded $220 million to 15 Beacon Communities across the nation to demonstrate a future where hospitals, clinicians and patients use health IT in different ways to strengthen healthcare delivery within their communities and achieve measurable improvements in healthcare quality, safety and efficiency.
Yesterday, ONC announced a new round of two additional Beacon awards totaling $30.3 million. The agency lists eligible applicants as state governments; county governments; city or township governments; special district governments; higher-learning institutions; Native American tribal organizations and governments; and nonprofits.
Successful applicants must be able to show existing, advanced health IT infrastructure, or be able to demonstrate previous success and/or advanced core-competencies in community-level practice redesign and care coordination or community-level evaluation, performance monitoring and feedback.
To qualify as a Beacon Community, communities will be expected to have higher rates of EHR adoption than published national estimates. They will be required to specify their plans to enhance their current capabilities within their established area of excellence and their plans to build their capabilities in the remaining two areas through health IT.
Successful applicants will be held accountable for high levels of EHR adoption and achievement of meaningful use among a majority of providers, and information exchange across providers and organizations for quality improvement and care-coordination purposes.