The HITECH Act has funded 17 "Beacon Communities" across the nation to serve as pilot sites for comprehensive use of health information technology. Now, a new initiative is designed to accelerate the documentation and dissemination of results and lessons learned in these communities.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has joined with AcademyHealth and the Commonwealth Fund to create the Beacon Evidence and Innovation Network. AcademyHealth is a professional society for health services researchers and health policy analysts. The Commonwealth Fund provides grants for initiatives that improve health care practice and policy.

The new initiative will focus on building the evidence base of the role of health I.T. in improving the performance of the health care system. The goals are to:

* Bring in external experts to work with evaluators within Beacon Communities to address research challenges and maximize dissemination opportunities;

* Bring together community leaders and experts to discuss such issues as reducing hospital readmissions, measuring provider performance using multiple data sources and optimizing electronic health records use in physician practices; and

* Disseminate lessons learned, promising strategies and early trends through development of issue briefs, white papers and case studies.

More information is available here.


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