Health Information Technology (HIT) is an important component of a health center’s operations. While it is not an end unto itself, it is an important means for helping health care providers provide high quality care that is safe, effective, timely, patient-entered, efficient and equitable. Below, learn more about tools and resources that can help health centers in the selection, implementation and meaningful use of various health information technologies.
Contact Phillip Stringfield, Specialist, Health Center Operations Training at (301) 347-0400 for more information.
Privacy & Security
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) issued a Proposed Rule, 21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability, Information Blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification Program. ONC released a final rule in March 2020, published in the Federal Register May 2020.The Final Rule commonly referred to as the Information Blocking Final Rule or the Information Blocking Rule 2020 officially defines information blocking as a practice that is likely to interfere with, prevent, or materially discourage access, exchange, or use of electronic health information. See below information to learn more about the Information Blocking final rule and how your organization can stay compliant.
Due to the fact that health centers utilize Electronic Health Records (EHR), they must follow security mandates set by the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) to ensure electronic health information has been protected. A security risk assessment helps your organization ensure it is compliant with HIPAA’s administrative, physical, and technical safeguards. A risk assessment also helps reveal areas where your organization’s protected health information could be at risk. The below links will provide educational resources and tools that you can utilize in your health center.
NACHC continues to raise awareness amongst health centers to ensure that they have appropriate cybersecurity mitigation measures in place. A continual review of your emergency preparedness plans should include approaches to address cybersecurity attacks and/or breaches. With the heightened use of virtual platforms for telehealth and more robust electronic health record systems, there is a greater need for more vigilance around cyber threats.
We encourage your immediate attention and local efforts to assess your organization’s security infrastructure. For additional technical assistance, please refer to the cybersecurity resource(s) listed below to ensure your organization is prepared and ready to mitigate such cyberthreats and/or attacks should they occur.
- NACHC’s Emergency Management Resources for Health Centers
- HITEQ (Health Information Technology, Evaluation and Quality Center)
- US CERT (Dept of Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Readiness team)
Primary Care Associations (PCAs) may have a designated Emergency Management point of contact to assist you with State-issued alerts or local issues. Find a state-by-state listing of PCAs here. Additional technical assistance documents can be found on the Cybersecurity section of the Health Center Resource Clearinghouse here.
For additional Training and Technical Assistance resources on emergency preparedness, check out the Health Center Resource Clearinghouse
NACHC Point of Contact – Brandon Jones, Director, Health Center Operations Training at firstname.lastname@example.org
NACHC supports several user groups for health centers that utilize various Electronic Health Record (EHR) platforms. These user groups provide a vehicle for health centers to meet and discuss common issues, share experiences and gain valuable insight on accomplishments and best practices.
- Connect with other health centers who use the same EHR platform as you.
- Discuss the issues and enhancements most important to health centers.
- Groups are led by health centers, HCCNs and PCA staff on a voluntary basis.
- Online forums to exchange ideas, lessons learned and best practices.
- Groups meet both virtually and in-person.
- NACHC provides support via WebEx, conference calls, and meeting space at our major conferences.
To join a specific user group or find out more information, please select a vendor below.
The EHR Selection Guidelines were developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration, with participation from NACHC and health center representatives, to help health centers select an EHR vendor. Resources for selecting, purchasing, and implementing an EHR are available on the Health Information Technology, Evaluation, and Quality Center (HITEQ) website.
Health Center Controlled Networks (HCCNs) provide valuable opportunities for health centers to optimize limited resources. Many health centers have found that partnering with a HCCN has provided substantial value to their operations in terms of quality and overall organizational performance. Partnering with an HCCN can also substantially decrease a health center’s HIT investment. Learn more about HCCNs at https://bphc.hrsa.gov/qualityimprovement/strategicpartnerships/hccn.html.
Other Helpful Resources
Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) – In addition to other activities, ONC is responsible for Developing, maintaining, and directing the implementation of HHS’ strategic plan to guide the nationwide implementation of interoperable health information technology in both the public and private health care sectors.
The ONC HIT Playbook – In 2016, ONC launched the Health IT Playbook to answer many questions providers ask when implementing and using health IT. This Playbook offers strategies, recommendations, and best practices — extensively researched and gleaned from a variety of clinical settings — to help you find the answers you need. The Playbook’s actionable steps will help reduce the pain of implementing and using health IT in your practice while advancing care information and delivery.
Health Information Technology, Evaluation, and Quality Center – The HITEQ Center collaborates with HRSA Partners including Health Center Controlled Networks (HCCNs), Primary Care Associations (PCAs) and other National Cooperative Agreements (NCAs) to support health centers in full optimization of their EHR/Health IT systems.
Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) – HIMSS is the health care industry’s membership organization exclusively focused on providing leadership for the optimal use of healthcare information technology (IT) and management systems for the betterment of healthcare.
American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) – AMIA is dedicated to promoting the effective organization, analysis, management, and use of information in health care in support of patient care, public health, teaching, research, administration, and related policy.