Physicians in California are aided in the adoption of health information technology (HIT) by the California Health Information Partnership & Services Organization (CalHIPSO), California’s Regional Extension Center. This Regional Extension Center was created under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act’s Health Information Technology Extension Program. Specifically, the purpose of CalHIPSO is to provide physicians in California with the technical assistance necessary to improve their quality of care through exceeding meaningful use of electronic health record (EHR) systems. Supporting Health Information Exchanges development is also a long-term goal of the Regional Extension Center.
The first step toward achieving meaningful use of health information technology is the use of certified EHR software. The vast amount of vendors and the complexity of available software make choosing a suitable EHR software a daunting and time consuming task for physicians. California’s Regional Extension Center can play an important role in facilitating physicians through the selection process, as well as the implementation process of the EHR software the physicians have purchased.
A prequalified or selected list of EHR vendors (also known as preferred EHR vendors) may be offered by some Regional Extension Centers. These EHR vendors are carefully selected out of a group of EMR (electronic medical record) companies due to a demonstrated commitment to California’s health information technology mission. The chosen electronic health records vendors offer greater functionality and interoperability that enables practices to better participate in the Health Information Exchange and achieve meaningful use of EMR software. Additionally, these EHR vendors facilitate quick and smooth adoption of EHR software for these Regional Extension Center participants by offering discounted prices, group purchasing discounts, and standardized terms and conditions.