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Looking at the numbers: Regional Extension Center Clients Achieve EHR Meaningful use

Clinicians - REACH Client Progress

Nearly 5,100 clinicians at 662 clinic locations, and 121 critical access and rural hospitals in Minnesota and North Dakota, advanced their use of electronic health records (EHRs) to improve patient care, over the past six years, with support from the Regional Extension Assistance Center for HIT (REACH).

The national regional extension center (REC) program and REACH concluded on April 7. Stratis Health co-led REACH, with partner organizations in both states. The program aimed to improve care by implementing and using EHR systems, to achieve Stage 1 meaningful use through the federal incentive payment program for health care providers. Stage 1 meaningful use focused on using the EHR to capture and share data.

REACH worked across the two states, primarily with small health care organizations and those providing care to the underserved, such as community health centers and rural care providers. These providers generally lagged behind in EHR adoption because of their size and resource limitations.

REACH far exceeded its goal to serve 3,600 clinicians:

  • 3,600 clinicians achieved Stage 1 meaningful use
  • An additional 1,489 clinicians were supported in adopting and optimizing EHRs
  • Nearly all (98%) 5,089 clinicians implemented certified EHRs, e-prescribing (e-RX), and quality reporting—stepping stones to using EHRs to improve care delivery through meaningful use
  • Of the 62 RECs, REACH ranked seventh in the nation for the number of priority primary care providers assisted to achieve Stage 1 meaningful use.
Hospitals - REACH Client Progress

Of the 121 critical access and rural hospitals REACH assisted:

  • 114 (94%) achieved Stage 1 meaningful use
  • Nearly all (98%) implemented certified EHRs, computerized physician order entry (CPOE), and quality reporting
  • Nationally, REACH had the greatest number of hospitals achieve Stage 1 meaningful use.

In the final month of the REC program, REACH met with 39 client groups, representing 58 hospitals and 370 clinic sites to understand ongoing e-health needs, identify opportunities to further improve care, and assess work still needed to meet Stage 3 requirements. Based on these insights and its experience with clients, REACH offered recommendations in eight key areas:

  • Data security
  • Patient experience and engagement
  • Health information exchange
  • Change management skills
  • Patient safety
  • Population health
  • Incentive programs
  • Clinician experience

These recommendations suggest next steps that support using e-health to transform care and help clinicians and health care organizations succeed in alternative payment models.

Final REACH program report available online.