The federal government in February and April awarded HITECH grants for the creation of 60 regional extension centers to assist providers in adopting electronic health records. By early summer, 14 RECs reported they had signed contracts to provide services to primary care providers.

That's one of the findings of a baseline survey of RECs that eHealth Initiative conducted in June and July. The Washington-based advocacy organization contacted all 60 RECs and received 46 survey responses. It expects to conduct the first follow-up survey late this year. MedPlus Inc., a Cincinnati-based document imaging and EHR vendor, sponsored the baseline survey.

Many regional extension centers are endorsing preferred EHR vendors on the premise that RECs doing the initial due diligence and recommending a list of finalist vendors can ease physician adoption. "I think it is a good thing to go out and seek vendors who know what they're doing," says Jennifer Covich Bordenick, CEO at eHealth Initiative.

About three-quarters of responding RECS to the survey said that price and total cost of ownership was the most important criteria for selecting preferred vendors. Other top criteria included willingness to guarantee meaningful use functionality, a local implementation presence and software hosted via the application service provider model. For full survey results, click here.

--Joseph Goedert

 

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