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NJ docs beat fed deadline: Signing up in droves for electronic health records

The New Jersey Health Information Technology Extension Center (NJ-HITEC) announced today that it has reached the 5,000 primary care providers member milestone in support of the healthcare evolution to transition to patient Electronic Health Records (EHRs). Each member doctor has signed an agreement pledging to work with NJ-HITEC to become a "meaningful user" of EHRs; to earn the federal incentive funds pursuant to President Obama's Stimulus Plan; and to improve the timely delivery of high quality medical care through the effective use of health information technology.

NJIT established NJ-HITEC in June 2010 with the support of a $23 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the National Coordinator as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009.

Signing up 5,000 New Jersey physicians so soon is a major milestone, achieved six months ahead of the April 2012 deadline. The accomplishment demonstrates NJ-HITEC's commitment to assist primary care providers effectively utilize their EHR systems to meet the federal requirements for incentive funds.

"NJ-HITEC has a deeply-committed and highly-talented staff that welcomes the challenge to train and educate 5,000 New Jersey primary care providers as "meaningful users" of electronic health information technology," said NJ-HITEC Executive Director Bill O'Byrne. "We are convinced that our efforts will significantly improve the quality and timeliness of healthcare delivery in New Jersey."

Principal Investigator NJIT Senior Vice President for Research and Development Donald H. Sebastian said: "We knew it was a stretch goal to start a new organization while also enrolling one of the largest cohorts of physicians for any center in the country. It's a credit to the entire organization that NJ-HITEC made its mark ahead of plan and will now press forward in the assistance program for these doctors. As the 5,000 physicians begin to demonstrate the value of EHR adoption, we look forward to the rest of the state's practitioners joining the movement and then our state's eight million residents will begin to see how this movement will result in reduced cost and improved quality of healthcare delivery."

The grant's next phase will be to assist NJ-HITEC's primary care providers utilize their EHR systems to meet the federal criteria of "meaningful use" established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). "NJ-HITEC will now commence a provider-centered focus to assist each doctor to select a fully accredited EHR system and work intensively with these physicians and their staff to demonstrate the proper way to use these systems to benefit the patient and the practice," added O'Byrne.

"This phase of work will continue until 2015 as it is expected that electronic health information technology will increasingly become a part of how high quality healthcare is delivered to Americans. Ultimately, every patient will have an interoperable, safe, and secure electronic health record that is accessible in a nationwide interoperable health information network."

NJ-HITEC is one of 62 federally designated Regional Extension Centers (REC) nationwide established to improve American healthcare delivery and patient care through the investment in health information technology. As New Jersey's lone REC, O'Byrne recognizes the scope of work ahead of NJ-HITEC as well as those organizations that have helped in its success including NJIT and the State of New Jersey.

NJ-HITEC provides support and assistance to New Jersey's primary care providers in the selection, implementation, and achievement of "meaningful use" of an ONC accredited Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. NJ-HITEC is the federally designated Regional Extension Center (REC) for New Jersey established by NJIT through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Contact: Denise Anderson
New Jersey Institute of Technology

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