To assist the adoption of health information technology (HIT), Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky have HealthBridge Tri-State Regional Extension Center serving physicians within all three states. 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 HealthBridge Tri-State Regional Extension Center is to provide education, outreach, and technical assistance necessary to help providers in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky improve their quality of care by attaining or exceeding meaningful use of electronic health record (EHR) and electronic medical record (EMR) systems.
The sheer number of vendors and the complexity of choices available make choosing a suitable EHR software a daunting and time consuming task for physicians. However, purchase of certified EHR software is the first step toward achieving meaningful use of EHR systems. The Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky HealthBridge Tri-State Regional Extension Center can play a crucial role in guiding physicians through selection and implementation process for the EHR software the physicians have purchased. HealthBridge Tri-State Regional Extension Center is also dedicated to the broader long-term goal of supporting the development of Health Information Exchanges.
Some Regional Extension Centers have also chosen to offer physicians a list of prequalified or selected EHR vendors (also known as preferred EHR vendors). These EHR vendors include a select group of EMR companies that underwent a significant qualification and selection process. They have demonstrated a commitment to the health information technology mission. The selected electronic health records vendors agreed to a higher base level of functionality and interoperability that will enable practices to achieve meaningful use of EHR and best participate in the Health Information Exchange. Additionally, the electronic health records vendors have discounted prices, group purchasing discounts, and standardized terms and conditions to facilitate quick and smooth adoption for these Regional Extension Center participants.