In order to facilitate the adoption of health information technology (HIT), Missouri has one Regional Extension Center (REC) serving physicians within the state. The Missouri Health Information Technology Assistance 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 the this Regional Extension Center is to provide education, outreach, and technical assistance necessary to help providers in Missouri improve the quality and value of care they furnish by exceeding meaningful use of electronic health record (EHR) systems.
The first step toward achieving meaningful use is the selection and purchase of certified EHR software. However, this is a challenging task due to the sheer number of vendors and the complexity of the many software options available. The Missouri Health Information Technology Assistance Center can play an important role in guiding physicians through the implementation and use of EHR software they have purchased. They are also dedicated to the broader long-term goal developing Health Information Exchanges.
Some Regional Extension Centers have also chosen to offer a list of selected EHR vendors (also known as preferred EHR vendors) that have been prequalified or otherwise vetted. These EHR vendors include a select group of EMR (electronic medical records) companies that underwent a significant qualification process and have demonstrated a commitment to the health information technology goal. In order to be selected, the electronic health records vendors on this list agreed to a higher base level of functionality and interoperability that will enable practices to achieve meaningful use and best participate in the Missouri Health Information Exchange. In many cases, Regional Extension Center members may receive group purchasing discounts from them and other benefits. Missouri Regional Extension Center participants will also be given discounted pricing and standardized terms and conditions by the EHR vendors to facilitate adoption quickly and smoothly.