The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is making available more than $38 million in grants to 20 organizations in 19 states to increase the adoption and use of interoperable health IT tools and services that support the electronic exchange of health information.

The bulk of the funding—$29.6 million—is going to a two-year cooperative agreement program supporting the efforts of 12 states or state-designated entities. Awardees will work with ONC to increase the integration of health information to support care processes and decision making, among other objectives.

“The safe and secure exchange of electronic health information to improve health and transform care remains a top priority for ONC,” according to Thomas Mason, M.D., ONC’s chief medical officer.  “As such, we are entering into cooperative agreements with 12 states or state-designated entities representing all ten HHS regions to assist in moving this vision forward.”

Also See: ONC Offers $28 Million to Advance Interoperability

The organizations selected to participate in the program include: Arkansas Office of Health Information Technology; California Emergency Medical Services Authority; Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing; Delaware Health Information Network; Illinois Health Information Exchange Authority; Nebraska Department of Administrative Services; New Hampshire Health Information Organization Corporation; New Jersey Innovation Institute; Oregon Health Authority; Rhode Island Quality Institute; South Carolina Health Information Partners, Inc.; and Utah Health Information Network.

Under a continuing workforce training program, ONChas also awarded seven grantees $6.7 million to update training materials and to train 6,000 incumbent healthcare workers to use new health information technologies in a variety of settings, including team-based care environments, long-term care facilities, patient-centered medical homes, accountable care organizations, hospitals, and clinics.

With a focus on population health, care coordination, new care delivery and payments models, and value-based and patient-centered care, the organizations selected to participate in this program include: University of Alabama at Birmingham; Bellevue College, Bellevue, Washington; Columbia University, New York City, New York; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland; Normandale Community College, Bloomington, Minnesota; Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon; and the University of Texas Health Science in Houston.

In the area of population health, ONC awarded a separate $2.2 million grant to Washington, D.C.-based AcademyHealth to recruit 15 communities across the country to participate in a collaborative peer learning program, which is designed to build on the success of ONC’s 17 Beacon Communities. “These communities will work to address their population health challenge through improved data aggregation, data portability, and data analysis,” according to Mason, who added that these solutions, best practices, and tools will “be shared with non-participating communities nationwide to accelerate and achieve similar health data sharing successes.”

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