National Rural Health Association

2015 Policy Institute

NRHA HIT Webinars & Resources

Ironically, the barriers to health information technology (health IT) adoption in rural areas are the same features that would make health IT of special benefit to rural settings. Only after adoption barriers are overcome can health IT revolutionize the challenges of isolation, distance and limited resources that are so dominant in rural areas. Health IT is an umbrella term that encompasses a set of very different technologies, applications and skills. These include: disease registries, clinical decision support systems (CDSS), computerized provider order entry (CPOE), electronic health records (EHRs), electronic prescribing (eRx), health information exchange, personal health records, interoperability, and telehealth. Each present a set of unique challenges related to work force, privacy, capital funding, establishing best practices etc.

NRHA has continued to emerge as a key partner in health IT. This has become more evident as our meetings and conference sessions dedicated to health IT continue to become more populated by many prominent health IT stakeholders. This growing influence is also apparent in the increased number of information solicitations that we receive pertaining to rural health IT. We are confident that our positive impact on HIT innovation will continue to improve the quality and availability of health care in America's rural communities.

For more on rural health information technology, see NRHA's official policy papers: Rural Health ITTelehealth ReimbursementTelehealth Provider Credentialing, and Geographic Restrictions for Medicare Telehealth Reimbursement.

 

Health IT Glossary

In the wake of health IT movement, a new medical care lexicon related to information technology has emerged. The terminology can in itself be a barrier to rural health IT adoption.  Here is a list of some of the most commonly used health IT related terms. Similar resources are listed below in the Tools section.

 

Critical Access Hospital Meaningful Use Survey

In 2010, NRHA conducted a survey of all small, rural hospitals regarding their Meaningful Use status. Over 300 rural hospitals participated and the results confirmed that there was a growing rural/urban divide in the rates of HIT adoption. In a 2010 Health Affairs article entitled A Progress Report On Electronic Health Records In U.S. Hospitals, the article concluded similar findings and went on to say "Federal policy makers need to take concrete actions now to address this emerging digital divide and to ensure that all Americans, regardless of where they receive care, derive the benefits that health IT has to offer."

Click here to download a copy of the meaningful use survey, which will ultimately be used to further NRHA's advocacy efforts on your behalf, improve the CAH HIT reimbursement program and bolster technical assistance for rural facilities, and assist your organization in assessing its HIT strategy.

 

Upcoming Webinars

NRHA/ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Webinar Series
#1 - EHR Introduction, Overview, and Structure, March 20, 2012 - 4 to 5pm ET
#2 - EHR Registration and Attestation, May 22, 2012 - 4 to 5pm ET
#3 - EHR M.U. and CQMs July 24, 2012 - #3 - 4 to 5pm ET
#4 - EHR Stage 2 Overview Oct. 2, 2012 - #4 - 4 to 5pm ET

Telehealth Resource Center Webinar Series
#1 - Telestroke, January 19, 2012
#2 - Woundcare, February 16, 2012
#3 - Step by Step: Starting a Telehealth Program, March 15, 2012
#4 - Emergency Care, April 19, 2012
#5 - Telehealth in Beacon Communities, May 17, 2012 

 

Recent Legislative & Regulatory Activity

Office of the National Coordinator 5 Year Plan (04/11)
Accountable Care Organizations (06/11)
NRHA/ AHA letter on Method 2 Billing under EHR incentive program (12/11) 

 

Rural Health IT Success

Nearly a dozen hospitals in rural Minnesota are now using "e-Emergency" services in their emergency rooms [read more]

 

Tools

Rural Assistance Center (RAC) Health Information Technology Toolkit    

Telehealth Resource Centers - The Telehealth Resource Centers (TRCs) have a mission to serve as a focal point for advancing the effective use of telehealth and support access to telehealth services in rural and underserved communities. The TRCs are funded by the federal Office for the Advancement of Telehealth. All in different stages of development, the resource centers sponsor a webinar series addressing a demonstrating a specific telehealth technology/ telehealth topic every month. Resource Centers around the country are: California Telemedicine & eHealth CenterGreat Plains Telehealth Resource & Assistance CenterHeartland Telehealth ResourceMid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource CenterNorthEast Telehealth CenterNorthwest Regional Telehealth Resource CenterPacific Basin Telehealth Resource CenterSouth Central Telehealth Resource CenterSoutheast Telehealth Resource CenterSouthwest Telehealth Resource CenterTelehealth Technology Assessment Center, and Upper Midwest Telehealth Resource Center

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid/Electronic Health Record (EHR) - The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs will provide incentive payments to eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) as they adopt, implement, upgrade or demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology.

Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT - The basics of electronic health record (EHR) implementation. Also, see the ONC blog "Health IT Buzz", Local Implementation Support, and Regional Extension Center (RECs)

HealthIT.gov  

Health Resources and Administration (HRSA) Health

National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved

Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 

American Medical Association (AMA) Health IT Basics -- The AMA recently compiled three online educational (CME) tutorials to help physicians and practice staff in small practices that are faced with decisions regarding health IT. The three tutorials cover ePrescribing, pre-visit planning and point-of-care documentation. 

American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Center for Health IT 

American Hospital Association (AHA)

Doctors Helping Doctors Transform Health Care

Bipartisan Policy Center Health Project - IT Initiative  

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