Worried of a new type of digital divide, officials at the Department of Health and Human Services last October called on electronic health records vendors to help boost the low adoption rates of providers serving minority populations.

Now they have their first taker. Quest Diagnostics through its MedPlus subsidiary will donate approximately 75 EHR licenses to physicians in small practices in Houston. To comply with Stark Act regulations, the vendor will donate about 85 percent of the cost of licenses, program integration, 12 months of subscription fees, and education and training.

Quest is participating in the National Health Information Technology Collaborative for the Underserved, a public-private partnership. The HHS Office of Minority Health will evaluate the program. Eligible providers must practice in an medically underserved area or health provider shortage area, have an Internet connection and use an electronic billing system, be a practice of five or fewer providers or a federally qualified health center, be eligible to receive EHR meaningful use incentives, and complete an initial application and submit monthly reports.

More information for vendors of the other 524 ambulatory EHR products certified for meaningful use is available at nhitunderserved.org.


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