The final Beacon community grants have been awarded, bringing the total number of participating organizations to 17. The latest recipients, Greater Cincinnati HealthBridge Inc. and Detroit-based Southeastern Michigan Health Association, received about $13.8 million and $16.2 million, respectively, to augment health IT infrastructure and health information exchange (HIE) capabilities in the areas they serve.
The 17 Beacon Community Programs, which received $250 million through the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health, or HITECH, Act, aim to lead quality improvement projects that incorporate electronic health record, or EHR, systems, data analytics and information exchange in the name of boosting care and efficiency.
Beacon communities are leaders in the use of health IT. HealthBridge, for example, is also an HIE covering parts of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, while the Rhode Island Quality Institute, which received one of the 15 original grants, is the HIE as well as the regional extension center for the Ocean State. They will need that expertise, as the 17 groups have a 30-month deadline for demonstrating success.
The collective efforts of the Beacon Community Program are intended to serve as a model for organizations throughout the United States. Here’s to wishing all participants well.