WIREC Reaches 100% of its Healthcare Provider Enrollment Goals in Effort to Advance Electronic Health Records

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The Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center for Health Information Technology (WIREC) achieves enrollment goal of 2,369 primary care providers.

Today’s announcement is a testament to the dedication of practitioners and the Regional Extension Center staff to improve the quality and delivery of healthcare through EHRs.

Today the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center (WIREC), a division of Qualis Health, announced that it has met its enrollment goal of 2,369 healthcare providers in Washington and Idaho as part of the national effort to accelerate the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs). Practitioners across both states sought WIREC out for assistance with EHR implementation and utilization in order to attain “meaningful use” of their systems.

“Washington and Idaho have both made great strides towards an electronically-enabled healthcare system, and WIREC has played an important role by supporting clinicians as they more effectively use health IT,” said Jonathan Sugarman, MD, MPH Chief Executive Officer of Qualis Health. “Today’s announcement is a testament to the dedication of practitioners and the Regional Extension Center staff to improve the quality and delivery of healthcare through EHRs.”

John Fisher, IT Manager for the Doctors Clinic of Spokane (one of the first WIREC practices to successfully attest to meaningful use) said, “I would like to thank WIREC for all of their assistance in helping our office achieve Stage 1 of Meaningful Use. The REC’s expertise and consistent status checks made all the difference in our being prepared. I truly believe that without the REC’s assistance and willingness to help that we would not have been able to accomplish meeting meaningful use as painlessly as we did.”

EHRs enable healthcare providers to have ready access to vital information about a patient’s medical history in order to diagnose health problems earlier, provide proactive treatments, and improve patient outcomes. These technologies can help lower healthcare system costs by eliminating unnecessary or duplicative tests, reducing errors and improving clinical decision-making. EHRs can also improve communication between healthcare providers, including referrals between primary care providers and specialists.

WIREC was designated by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) as one of 62 national Regional Extension Centers (RECs). The REC program was established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical (HITECH) Act to help healthcare providers transition to electronic health records and achieve federal meaningful use guidelines to maximize the functionality and benefits of an EHR system. Though WIREC has met its initial program enrollment goal, they continue to offer technical support to healthcare providers throughout both states to advance the adoption of EHRs and offer guidance and information on best practices.

On January 3, 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the ONC announced the availability of registration for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs as established by the HITECH Act and funded by ARRA. Through these programs, eligible healthcare providers who demonstrate meaningful use of EHRs can receive as much as $44,000 over a five-year period through Medicare or $63,750 over six years through Medicaid. WIREC is working with providers to attest for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program, which started issuing payments in May 2011, as well as the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.

About WIREC
Led by Qualis Health, WIREC provides technical assistance, guidance, vendor-neutral EHR adoption services, and information to eligible healthcare professionals to help them achieve meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs) and quality for CMS incentive payments. WIREC was selected and awarded through an objective review process by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC). WIREC serves as a direct pipeline to the national Regional Extension Center program, leveraging our connection to a national collaborative of RECs while bringing local expertise to support providers across the region with technical assistance for successful EHR adoption.

For more information about WIREC, visit http://www.wirecQH.org.

About Qualis Health
Qualis Health is one of the nation’s leading healthcare quality improvement organizations. We bring value through a full spectrum of powerful, evidence-based healthcare assessment and improvement services. Drawing on our unique blend of healthcare information technology and clinical expertise, our public and private partnerships advance healthcare and improve health. Qualis Health is an independent, nonprofit organization, which enables us to deliver the greatest possible value to our clients and communities.

Qualis Health is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.

Additional Resources
HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT
Health IT Journey: Stories from the Road
Stories from the Front Lines: Clinicians Describe their Journeys toward Meaningful Use

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Evan Stults
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