eHealth Initiative Releases New Report: The Early Direction of Regional Extension Centers

Since 2004, the eHealth Initiative has tracked the progress of organizations across the
country working on health information exchange and health information technology. This report summarizes the results of eHealth Initiative’s first survey of Regional Extension Centers (RECs). The survey data is self-reported and offers a non-scientific snapshot of the field.

The eHealth Initiative has identified and collected information on 46 of the 60 Regional Extension Centers (RECs) in the country. eHeaIth Initiative made a concerted effort to
Include all 60 entities in the survey. To view a list of all the regional extension centers, please visithttp://www.ehealthinitiative.org.

It should be noted that this survey provides baseline data of entities which are only in the beginning stages of development. Over the coming months and years, the eHealth Initiative will track the progress of the RECs as they develop over time. Given the early stages of development, only a limited number of findings about the RECs were found. Highlights from the report are below:

  • Many Regional Extension Centers remain in the planning stages.
  • Progress has been slow in transitioning pre-award letters of commitment by providers to signed contracts by PCPs with a Regional Extension Center.
  • Opinion is evenly divided on progress toward REC objectives being reliant upon assistance from the Health Information Technology Research Center.
  • Among Regional Extension Centers planning to offer a preferred EHR vendor list to PCPs, the most important criteria for selecting a preferred EHR vendor are:
    • Price/ total cost of ownership over 3 years
    • Guarantee of meaningful use functionality
    • The number of installations locally
    • Use of an ASP hosted model
  • After stimulus funds are removed, a majority of Regional Extension Centers will change their fees as a means to sustainability.
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