Chicago Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center




Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions - CHITREC Services

CHITREC brings together a range of standard and individualized services and access to resources for HIT implementation.
CHITREC services include:
·     Education and training

·     Meaningful Use gap analysis

·     Needs assessment / RFP development

·     Product evaluation, selection consultation and procurement

·     Workflow analysis and redesign

·     Data conversion, including preload and interface development

·     Patient engagement / education

·     Reporting strategy

·     Clinical decision support content and design

·     Post-implementation assessment and optimization

·     E-prescribing implementation

Services will begin in June 2010, once funding is distributed by the Department of Health and Human Services. In the interim, interested providers and practices are encouraged to contact CHITREC at: [email protected]

The CHITREC serving area addresses more than 2,400 primary care providers in the concentrated 606xx zip code area. The majority of these PCPs care for the under/uninsured and medically underserved in Chicago.

General and technical assistance will be provided to all participating practices. A customized roadmap will be developed for each participant based on the results of a readiness assessment that will be completed at the early stages of participation. Participants will receive tailored assistance for achieving meaningful use based on their assessment.

As defined by the HITECH Act, priority primary care providers are physicians (Internal Medicine, Family Practice, OB/GYN, Pediatrics) and other healthcare professionals (PA, NP, Nurse Midwife) with prescribing privileges in the following settings:

  • Small group practices (10 or less providers)
  • Ambulatory clinics connected with a public or critical access hospital
  • Community health centers and rural health clinics
  • Other ambulatory settings that predominantly serve uninsured, underinsured, and medically underserved populations

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus package includes financial incentives for healthcare providers that achieve meaningful use with an EHR. A maximum of $44,000 per provider is available for Medicare incentives and a maximum of $63,750 per provider for Medicaid. For more information see Meaningful Use section

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), or "the stimulus bill," provides additional Medicaid and Medicare payments to physicians that demonstrate "Meaningful EHR Use" – the foundation of successful EHR implementation.

  • The meaningful use rule is part of a coordinated set of regulations to help create a private and secure 21st-century electronic health information system.
    • 15 core objectives of meaningful use comprise basic functions that enable EHRs to support improved health care. As a start, these tasks include the entry of basic data: patients’ vital signs and demographics, active medications and allergies, up-to-date problem lists of current and active diagnoses, and smoking status. Other core objectives will include using several software applications that begin to realize the true potential of EHRs to improve the safety, quality, and efficiency of care—and to begin extending the benefits of EHRs to patients themselves by providing patients with electronic versions of their health information.
    • In addition to the core elements, practitioners must select from a menu of 10 additional tasks, from which providers can choose any 5 to implement in 2011–2012. This gives providers latitude to pick their own path toward full EHR implementation and meaningful use.
  • Through HITECH, the federal government is committing unprecedented resources to supporting the adoption and use of EHRs. This funding will provide important support to achieve liftoff for the creation of a nationwide system of EHRs. It will make available incentive payments totaling up to $27 billion over 10 years, or as much as $44,000 (through Medicare) and $63,750 (through Medicaid) per clinician.
  • Initial Incentive payments, administered through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, will be made available beginning in January 2011 to eligible providers with EHR systems that focus on: electronic capture of health information in a coded format, use of that information to track key clinical conditions, communicating that information across the care continuum, and reporting clinical quality measures and public health information.

At CHITREC, our number one priority is helping all providers understand and fully take advantage of the window of opportunity to fully realize the benefits of health IT adoption and achieving meaningful use.

  • With our scalable support, we will help you get there efficiently and effectively.
  • Your practice will be geared to achieving the objectives from the very beginning, maximizing payments and minimizing hassle.

There will be a rush for new providers to implement EHRs to take advantage of the incentives because they are time-limited. Vendors will have limited capacity and will start to be overbooked, making CHITREC services all the more valuable as it may ease practice burden while speeding up the implementation process.
Given the fact that most younger providers consider EHRs a necessity in a medical practice, the installment of an EHR system now is an investment in the future value of a medical practice.

  • EHRs require an initial investment of time and money, but providers can save money in the longer run through improved efficiencies, including reductions in the amount of time spent locating paper files, transcribing and spending time on the phone with labs or pharmacies; more accurate coding; and reductions in reporting burden.

Providers around the country are recognizing that, overall, the health care system is rapidly moving toward EHRs.

  • Many hospitals, health plans, and other entities are now supporting Meaningful Use and aligning programs around it.
  • EHRs are an essential component of health care reform related efforts such as Accountable Care Organizations.